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President Bush Participates in Briefings at U.S. Department

更新时间:2009-08-20    来源/发布:www.en369.cn    作者/编辑:admin

President Bush Participates in Briefings at U.S. Department

12:06 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I've just completed a meeting with Secretary Gates and General Pace and the members of the Joint Chiefs. I appreciate your hospitality. I really enjoy coming to the Defense Department to sit at the same table with these distinguished Americans. These folks are good, strategic thinkers. They're smart, they're capable, and we're lucky they wear the uniform.

I spent time discussing with them the needs of our military personnel as they carry out vital missions. The Joint Chiefs shared with me the latest developments and updated me on the troop rotations as they implement our new Baghdad security plan. They report that the three additional Iraqi brigades promised by the government are in place and are conducting operations in the Baghdad area. Three additional American brigades totally about 12,000 troops have taken up positions and are also conducting operations.

The Chiefs told me that the fourth American brigade of reinforcements has just entered Baghdad and its surrounding towns, and that the commanders expect the fifth American brigade to be in place by the middle of June. So it's going to be another month before all the additional troops that General Petraeus has requested are on the ground and carrying out their missions in Iraq.

American reinforcements in Baghdad, along with the Iraqi security forces, are now living and working with the Iraqi people in neighborhood posts called joint security stations. These stations are a place from which American and Iraqi forces act against terrorists and insurgents and death squads. And they patrol streets to build trust and increase local cooperation. In other words, there's active engagement by Iraqi forces and coalition forces in neighborhoods throughout Baghdad and the area.

And what happens with increased presence, there's increased confidence, and with increased confidence becomes increased information, information that forces can use to go after extremists, to bring down sectarian violence that plague the capital city of that country. The level of sectarian violence is an important indicator of whether or not the strategy that we have implemented is working. Since our operation began, the number of sectarian murders has dropped substantially.

As we have surged our forces, al Qaeda is responding with their own surge. Al Qaeda is ratcheting up its campaign of high-profile attacks, including deadly suicide bombings carried out by foreign terrorists. America responded, along with coalition forces, to help this young democracy, and a brutal enemy has responded, as well. These attacks are part of a calculated campaign to reignite sectarian violence in Baghdad, and to convince the people here in America that the effort can't succeed. We're also seeing high levels of violence because our forces are entering areas where terrorists and militia once has sanctuary. As they continue to do so, our commanders have made clear that our troops will face more fighting and increased risks in the weeks and months ahead.

As we help Iraqis bring security to their own country, we're also working with Iraqi leaders to secure greater international support for their young democracy. And last week, Secretary Rice attended an international meeting on Iraq and Egypt, and she briefed me and she briefed Secretary Gates -- there he is right there.

The meeting included representatives from Iraq's neighbors, as well as Egypt and Bahrain, and G8 countries, and the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. It was a robust international meeting where Iraqi leaders expressed their determination to meet a series of benchmarks they have set for political progress. In other words, they have not only told me that they're going to meet benchmarks, they've not only told Secretary Gates that they intend to meet benchmarks, but they've also told the international community they intend to do so.

These benchmarks include adoption of a national oil law and preparations for provincial elections and progress on a new de-Baathification policy and a review of the Iraqi constitution.

The nations assembled in Egypt pledged to support Iraq in these efforts. In other words, the Iraqis said, we need help, and these nations pledged support. It's a very positive development. They're going to help Iraq secure its borders. They've said they will help stem the flow of terrorists into their country. They agreed to support the international compact established by Iraq and the United Nations so that Iraq can reform and rebuild its economy.

For Iraqi leaders to succeed in all these efforts their people must have security. That's why I made the decision I made. That's why we sent additional troops into Baghdad. But we need to give General Petraeus's plan time to work. There's a debate waging in Washington here about how long we're going to be there -- we haven't even got all our troops there. I still find it interesting that General Petraeus was given a unanimous confirmation vote by the United States Senate after he made clear his plan, and before the plan has been fully implemented some in Washington are saying, you need to leave. My attitude is, General Petraeus's plan ought to be given a chance to work, and we need to give the troops under his command the resources they need to prevail.

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