Monday, March 19, 2007

Bush - "mission can be won" in Iraq

George W. Bush: "There will be good days and bad days
... but the mission can be won"

On the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, George Bush made an address from the White House. He spoke to the nation shortly after speaking to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and General Petraeus, who is in charge of the new US led offensive. In his address which lasted less than ten minutes, President Bush said that the 2003 invasion has eliminated the threat of Saddam, a “tyrant” who had posed a threat “to the Middle East and the world”. His mission now was to continue “working to build a free society … that will be an ally in the war on terror”. His “aggressive plan to secure Baghdad” would, however “take months, not weeks or days “. But he said there were “signs of success”. The President said that “joint security stations are helping Iraqis reclaim their neighbourhoods”. He said that the security operation had also destroyed two major car bomb factories on outskirts of Baghdad, but that more time was needed for the mission to take effect. “There will be good days and bad days as the mission unfolds” the President said.

He also spoke about the rich resources the country possesses. He said that new legislation would seek to “share oil revenues amongst the Iraqi people”.

He sought support for more “emergency war spending bill to provide what our troops need”. He warned about the risks of pulling out. “It is easy to suggest we ‘pack up and go home’, but the consequences for American security would be devastating”, he said. If America pulled their troops out, “the terrorists would emerge and use Iraq as a safe haven”. And although General Petraeus has described the Baghdad offensive as being the ‘most challenging operation’ in his career, George W Bush said, “it is a difficult mission but it can be won” [CNN].

Prior to his speech the BBC released the results of a poll conducted by ABC and the BBC, which showed Iraqis felt less safe than ever before. Less than 40% of those polled said things were good in their lives, compared to 71% two years ago.
However, a majority of those questioned said that, despite daily violence, they did not believe Iraq was in a state of civil war [BBC]. Despite this more than 2 million Iraqis have fled the country in the last four years and according to UN figure another 2 million have been displaced internally. The UN also say that a further 100,000 are leaving their homes every month.
The weekend brought further carnage with chemical truck bombs injuring hundreds [BBC]. The Chlorine gas attacks hit two targets in Falluja and another in Baghdad. Chlorine gas can cause severe burns to the throat and lungs and can kill after only a few breaths. Six coalition troops were said to amongst the injured. There were at least three such attacks in Iraq in February. Today, fourteen were killed in a series of bomb blasts in the northern Iraqi town of Kirkuk [BBC].

CNN polls show a drop in support for the war over the years. In 2003 there was a 72% showing of support. Within a year that dropped to 48% with a further drop to 40% by 2006. The support amongst the American public now stands at 30%.

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