President again pledges U.S. will stay in Iraq "until the fight is won"
July 04, 2005
He pledged once again to stand with the Iraqis "until the fight is won."
Speaking at an Independence Day celebration at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, Bush declared, "The history we celebrate today is a testament to the power of freedom to lift up a whole nation."
He quoted President John Kennedy as saying at a similar commemoration in 1962 that the U.S. Declaration of Independence "unleashed not merely a revolution against the British, but a revolution in human affairs."
Bush pledged continued diligence in the worldwide war against terrorism, citing his promise to the American people after the September 11, 2001, attacks on targets in New York and Washington that "we will not be attacked again."
Describing the enemy worldwide as "men who celebrate murder, incite suicide and thirst for absolute power" and "seek to turn the Middle East into a haven for terror," he promised they would fail in their efforts to drive America out of the region.
"These terrorists will not be stopped by negotiations, or concessions, or appeals to reason. In this war, there is only one option, and that is victory," the president said.
"We're denying our enemies sanctuary and making it clear that America will not tolerate regimes that harbor or support terrorists. And we're spreading freedom, because the terrorists know there is no room for them in a free and democratic Middle East," he added.
Turning specifically to the continuing struggle in Iraq, where he said terrorists from across the Middle East are converging to fight the rise of democracy, he acknowledged that "the images of cruelty and suffering we see on television are real, and they are difficult for our compassionate nation to watch."
But, even though the terrorists "continue to kill in the hope that they will break the resolve of the American people," he declared, "they will fail."
"The terrorists can kill the innocent, but they cannot stop the advance of freedom," Bush asserted.
The president addressed, indirectly, demands in some quarters that he establish a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.
While fighting side by side with Iraqi forces, he said, the United States is training Iraqis "so they can defend their own liberty." U.S. strategy "can be summed up this way: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down, and then our troops can come home to a proud and grateful nation," Bush said.
Again, he declared that the best way to honor the sacrifice of U.S. casualties in Iraq is to complete the mission there, and "so we will stay until the fight is won."
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