“History will say, it was when you were called upon, you served, and the service you rendered was absolutely necessary to defeat an enemy overseas so we do not have to face them here at home…”
President George W. Bush
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait
January 12, 2007
One year ago this week President Bush announced plans for a troop and civilian surge to move Iraq forward despite great criticism from his political opponents who thought the war in Iraq was lost. The plan was a huge success- one of the great military victories of our time.
President George W. Bush reaches out to troops at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, during his last stop in the country before continuing on to Bahrain. (White House photo by Eric Draper)
Today President Bush congratulated General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker and the troops on their great success!!!!
He also talked about the progress in Iraq:
President Bush was very pleased with the overall progress in Iraq:
“I’m not going to make any excuses for Iraq, but to go from tyranny to a democracy overnight is virtually impossible. Am I pleased with the progress in Iraq? What they have gone through and where they are today I think is good progress. Have they done enough? No. Are we going to continue to work with them to do more? Absolutely!“
It was a welcome message for the US troops serving in Kuwait and Iraq.
U.S. President George W. Bush arrives to speak to U.S. soldiers at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait January 12, 2008. (Reuters)
** There are some people who talk hope and there are others who make the tough decisions to bring hope to this world.
Today President Bush met with Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus, soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen in Kuwait to congratulate them on their outstanding year.
The White House reported:
One year ago, I addressed the American people to announce a new way forward in Iraq. At that time, Iraq was riven by sectarian violence. The violence had increased over the course of 2006, and it threatened the collapse of the political process. Economic activity was languishing. Al Qaeda was strengthening its grip in critical parts of Iraq, including parts of the capital city of Baghdad. Shia extremist groups, some with the backing from Iran, were increasing their attacks on coalition and Iraqi forces.
Our strategy simply wasn’t working. And the world was watching. Our friends and foes had the same question: Would we turn our back on our friends and allow Iraq to descend into chaos? Or would we change our approach, and stand with the Iraqi people and help them take back their country from the terrorists and extremists?
We chose to support our Iraqi partners; we chose to help them protect the Iraqi people from the terrorists and radicals. The new way forward I announced one year ago changed our approach in fundamental ways. We sent more combat troops to Iraq. We refocused their mission to protecting the Iraqi people, and to fighting the enemy in the strongholds and denying sanctuary anywhere in the country. We began a diplomatic surge to cut off the networks of foreign fighters that were flowing into Iraq from Syria, and to cut the support of Shia extremists coming from Iran, and to encourage the region to give more support to the Iraqi government. We surged civilians into Iraq to support our military efforts, doubling the number of provincial reconstruction teams, and facilitating Iraqi political reconciliation from the bottom up.
I nominated General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker to carry out this new strategy. This was a tough assignment for them. And they — and all the good men and women they’re privileged to lead — are doing an outstanding job.
Iraq is now a different place from one year ago. Much hard work remains, but levels of violence are significantly reduced. Hope is returning to Baghdad, and hope is returning to towns and villages throughout the country. Iraqis who fled the violence are beginning to return and rebuild their lives. Al Qaeda remains dangerous, and it will continue to target the innocent with violence. But we’ve dealt al Qaeda in Iraq heavy blows, and it now faces a growing uprising of ordinary Iraqis who want to live peaceful lives. Extremist militias remain a concern. But they, too, have been disrupted, and moderates are turning on those who espouse violence. Iran’s role in fomenting violence has been exposed; Iranian agents are in our custody, and we are learning more about how Iran has supported extremist groups with training and lethal aid.
Iraqis are gradually take [sic] control of their country. Over the past year, Iraqi forces conducted a surge of their own, generating well over 100,000 more Iraqi police and soldiers to sustain the security gains. Tens of thousands of concerned local citizens are protecting their communities, and working with coalition and Iraqi forces to ensure al Qaeda cannot return. The Iraqi government is distributing oil revenues across the country, so that reconstruction can follow hard-won security gains. And from Kirkuk to Ramadi, to Karbala to Bagdad, the people of Iraq — Sunni, Shia, and Kurd — are coming together at the grass roots to build a common future.
These improvements are allowing some U.S. forces to return home — a return on success that has now begun. One Army brigade and one Marine Expeditionary Unit have already come home, and they will not be replaced. In the coming months, four additional brigades and two Marine battalions will follow suit. Any additional reduction will be based on the recommendation of General Petraeus, and those recommendations will be based entirely on the conditions on the ground in Iraq.
The months ahead offer prospects for further progress. Iraq’s local leaders need to continue to improve conditions from the bottom up. And Iraq’s national leaders need to follow up on the successful adoption of the pension reform by passing a revised de-Baathification law and a national budget. And the linkages between the local and national levels must be strengthened and expanded. Iraqi security forces need to continue to grow and improve and take the fight to al Qaeda and other extremist groups. Criminals need to be defeated in Iraqi neighborhoods. Syria needs to further reduce the flow of terrorists to the territo
ry, especially suicide bombers. Iran must stop supporting the militia special groups that attack Iraqi and coalition forces, and kidnap and kill Iraqi officials…
Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus will continue to carry out our policy in Iraq — and they need to get back to Baghdad. So I better stop talking. I want to thank them for your service. I want you to thank your families for how much I appreciate your sacrifices. I also want to thank the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, as well as the diplomats, intelligence officers, civilian employees, and contractors — and all their families who are doing the work necessary to lay the foundation for peace.
Thank you all for being here, and God bless you.
U.S. President George W. Bush greets U.S. soldiers based at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait January 12, 2007. (Reuters)
Members of the military line the path to the stage as President George W. Bush appeared Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. An estimated 4,000 troops heard the President say “…History will say, it was when you were called upon, you served, and the service you rendered was absolutely necessary to defeat an enemy overseas so we do not have to face them here at home…” (White House photo by Eric Draper)
Captain’s Quarters has more today on the latest political progress in Iraq including the news that the “Iraqi National Assembly has passed one of the two most critical benchmarks that the American government had pressed for Baghdad to adopt, the de-Baathification reform.”
Sadly, this very important news today from Kuwait is being buried by the mainstream news. You could imagine the headlines if the news from Iraq was not favorable. What a shame.
UPDATE: The Strata-Sphere reported that “Iraqi officials have declared that Al-Qaeda is Defeated!”