Martinsburg, W.Va. President Bush defended his Iraq war policy in a patriotic Fourth of July talk, saying that while he honors the sacrifice of U.S. troops, now is not the time to bring them home.
Bush said victory in Iraq will require "more patience, more courage and more sacrifice."
"If we were to quit Iraq before the job is done, the terrorists we are fighting would not declare victory and lay down their arms. They would follow us here," Bush said at the West Virginia Air National Guard.
A small anti-war demonstration was under way on the other side of the state in Charleston. But the friendly audience here cheered the toppling of Saddam Hussein as well as the president's decision in January to send 28,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq to tamp down the violence.
The war, in its fifth year, has claimed the lives of more than 3,580 U.S. military men and women.
"It's a tough fight, but I wouldn't have asked those troops to go into harm's way if the fight was not essential to the security of the United States of America," Bush said.
In Baghdad, the administration was trumpeting a ceremony in which 588 U.S. troops marked the holiday by re-enlisting Wednesday, and 161 soldiers recited an oath making them American citizens.
However, difficulties continue in Iraq. Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds said Wednesday that they have not been able to agree to a draft bill to regulate the country's oil industry - something U.S. officials hope will rally Sunni support for the government. The oil bill is a top concern of Iraq's Sunni minority, which is centered in regions of the country with little proven reserves and fears that Shiites and Kurds in the oil-rich south and north will monopolize profits from the industry.