View Full Version : Bush: 30,000 Iraqis Killed in War

12-12-2005, 03:53 PM
Bush: Iraqi democracy making progress; estimates 30,000 Iraqis killed

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/12/12/bush.iraq/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/12/12/bush.iraq/index.html)

December 12, 2005

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A fledgling democracy in Iraq will take time to grow but will make the world safer from terrorists, President Bush said Monday while acknowledging more than 30,000 Iraqis have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion nearly three years ago.
Speaking Monday in the cradle of American democracy, Bush compared Iraq's struggle to the plight of America's founders and said that he still believed the March 2003 invasion was the right course of action.

Bush praised Iraqis as they began to go to the polls for the third time this year despite the threat of violence from an insurgency that hasn't subsided.
The birth of democracy is never easy, he told the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, which bills itself as a nonpartisan organization dedicated to educating the public on important national and international issues.

"No nation in history has made the transition to a free society without facing challenges, setbacks and false starts," he said.

After the speech ended early, Bush -- in a rare move -- took questions from the audience. When the president was asked about the number of Iraqi deaths in the war, he estimated 30,000 people have been killed since March 2003.

According to Reuters, a White House spokesman said Bush was giving a figure based on media reports and the number wasn't an official estimate from the U.S. government.

Another question came from a woman who asked why the Bush administration continues to link the September 11 terrorist attacks with the decision to invade Iraq.

Bush, who said in his opening remarks that the war on terror started that day in 2001, responded, "9/11 changed my look on foreign policy. I mean, it said that oceans no longer protect us; that we can't take threats for granted; that if we see a threat, we've got to deal with it."

The president said that Saddam Hussein was a threat that was "accentuated by 9/11."

"I made a tough decision," he said. "And knowing what I know today, I'd make the decision again. Removing Saddam Hussein makes this world a better place and America a safer country."

In his speech, Bush also sought to assure a skeptical public that the burgeoning political process in Iraq would lead to better lives for Iraqis and Americans.

"By helping Iraqis to build a democracy, we will win over those who doubted they had a place in a new Iraq and undermine the terrorists and Saddamists," he said.

The president said through democracy in Iraq that the United States would also gain an ally in the war on terror and inspire democratic reformers in the Middle East. This would bring "hope to a troubled region," Bush said, making Americans safer.

The speech was the third in a series of addresses in advance of Thursday's elections in Iraq that is meant to increase American support for the war there.

About 15 million Iraqis are eligible to vote on a permanent 275-member National Assembly, an election that U.S. officials have said marks another important step on the path to democracy in Iraq.

Early voting began Monday for Iraqi patients, soldiers and prisoners.

"The Iraqi people are stepping forward to claim their liberty, and they will have it," Bush said.

Elections hopes

U.S. officials are hoping for a high voter turnout in Iraq, especially among Sunni Arabs, a minority that enjoyed great power during Hussein's reign. Sunnis largely boycotted the January election for a transitional National Assembly.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad told CNN that "Sunnis seem to be developing confidence in the political process. They believe that their grievances can be dealt with politically."

Khalilzad add that having Sunnis involved in the government could result in "isolating the terrorists," many of whom are Sunnis, and lead to a reduction in violence in Iraq.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have increasingly said that the insurgency will not be defeated militarily, but through political means.

The address also comes as debate continues over the number of U.S. troops that should be withdrawn after the election.

Rep. John Murtha, a 17-term Democrat from Pennsylvania, sparked the debate last month with his passionate call for a redeployment of forces that would bring most troops immediately home and position others outside of Iraq.

Murtha has scheduled a news conference Monday afternoon in which he is expected to again say that U.S. troops are causing more problems than they are solving.

"Every day we're there, we inadvertently kill people," he told "Face the Nation" on Sunday, adding that doing so has made the United States the enemy.

Murtha also made a reference to the difficulty in the early American democracy, but said Iraqis should stabilize their country without further U.S. help.

"I read a book by David McCullough, '1776,' " he said. "You know, France helped us win the war. They didn't stay there after we won the war and try to tell us how to run the government.

"And we're not going to be able to run the government in Iraq. They're going to have to do this themselves."

Last week, Bush touted U.S. successes in helping Iraq improve its economy and infrastructure. The president focused on reconstruction efforts, saying U.S. strategy has shifted from large projects to smaller jobs that can be completed quickly, such as sewer lines and city roads.

In his first speech on November 30, Bush praised Iraqi security forces and said that U.S. troops would leave Iraq, not on a specific timetable, but when Iraqis were able to take the lead in defense operations.

On Wednesday, Bush will deliver the final Iraq speech in Washington, the day before most Iraqis head to the polls.

12-12-2005, 03:54 PM
Yeah right.

12-13-2005, 12:52 PM
Bush compared Iraq's struggle to the plight of America's foundersThis seems to be becoming a refrain (http://www.heraldnewsdaily.com/stories/news-00111255.html) of the right (who also compared both the Afghan Jihadis and the Contras to the US Patriots in the '80s).