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Archive for Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Highlights from President Bush’s speech

April 14, 2004

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Issues raised at President Bush's news conference Tuesday and his responses:

U.S. troops

  • Indicated that U.S. troops could be asked to remain in Iraq, even as their replacements arrive, if military leaders think they are needed to help secure the nation.

"If additional forces are needed, I will send them," Bush said. "If additional resources are needed, we will provide them."

  • Said U.S. troops would be in Iraq "as long as necessary."

U.S. election

  • Defended his policies, saying he intended to win re-election.

"I don't plan on losing my job," he said. "I plan on telling the American people that I've got a plan to win the war on terror. And I believe they'll stay with me. They understand the stakes."

Comparison to Vietnam

  • "The analogy is false," Bush said. "I also happen to think that analogy sends the wrong message to our troops and sends the wrong message to the enemy."

Recent violence in Iraq

  • Said the violence was being instigated by three groups: Remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime and Islamic militants who have attacked in Fallujah; foreign terrorists who have organized attacks across the country; and supporters of a radical cleric named Muqtada al-Sadr.

"The violence we have seen is a power grab by these extreme and ruthless elements. It's not a civil war. It's not a popular uprising. Most of Iraq is relatively stable. Most Iraqis by far reject violence and oppose dictatorship."

Weapons of mass destruction

  • Said Iraq's weapons of mass destruction could still be "hidden" in Iraq.

Transfer of power

  • Is sending Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to the Middle East to discuss with nations in the region how they can help achieve a free and independent Iraq.
  • On June 30, Iraqi officials will assume full responsibility for the ministries of government, and a transitional administrative law, including a bill of rights, will take full effect. A U.S. Embassy will open, and an ambassador will be posted.
  • Iraq will have elections for a national assembly by next January. That assembly will draft a new permanent constitution, which will be presented to the Iraqi people in a national referendum in October of next year.
  • Iraqis will elect a permanent government by Dec. 15, 2005.

NATO

  • Said Secretary of State Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and a number of NATO defense and foreign ministers were exploring a more formal role for NATO, such as turning the Polish-led division into a NATO operation and giving NATO specific responsibilities for border control.

Training of troops

  • The U.S.-led coalition need to keep training Iraqi troops, although he was "disappointed" in the recent performance of some Iraqi soldiers who deserted their units.

"Some of the units performed brilliantly. Some of them didn't," he said. "And we need to find out why. If they're lacking in equipment, we'll get them equipment. If there needs to be more intense training, we'll get more intense training."


9-11 attacks

  • Acknowledged that there are some things he wished America had done to better protect itself from the 9-11 attacks. He cited the Homeland Security Department as an example because it would have helped agencies better coordinate information.
  • Noted that the United States was not on a "war footing," and yet the "enemy was at war with us."

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