President Bush says U.S. troops in Iraq face a
critical time during the next few months as they try to implement his new
strategy. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, the last of the
additional 30,000 troops Mr. Bush is sending to Iraq should be in place by the
middle of June.
President Bush says Americans should expect more
casualties as the full complement of forces in this troop surge enter combat.
"As these reinforcements carry out their missions, the enemies of a free
Iraq, including al-Qaida and illegal militias, will continue to bomb and murder
in an attempt to stop us," he said. "We are going to expect heavy fighting in
the [next] weeks and months. We can expect more American and Iraqi casualties."
The president is trying to rally public support for a war that most Americans
now believe is a mistake. An Associated Press poll this month showed nearly two
thirds of Americans disapprove of his handling of the war.
Mr. Bush told reporters in the Rose Garden that he understands that
frustration, but is confident that defeating terrorists in Iraq is central to
America's national security.
"It is a tough fight and it has obviously had an effect on the American
people," he said. "Americans want to know when you are going to win."
The president says victory will come when Iraq is stable enough to be an ally
in the war on terror, govern itself, and defend itself.
Earlier this month, Mr. Bush said the troop
surge was beginning to show signs of progress by reducing
sectarian violence in the capital.
Asked about reports that Baghdad morgue data show an increase in such
killings, the president said there has been an uptick in violence. He called it
a snapshot, a moment that will be included in a September assessment of the
troops surge by General David Petraeus.
Democrats in Congress say they want to see significant progress in that
report or they will again consider cutting funds for the war.
Democrats have dropped their demands for a timetable for a troop withdrawal
in a revised war funding bill that is expected to pass both the House and
The $120 billion measure funds military operations through September and
includes billions of dollars for domestic projects as well as an increase in the
It includes a set of political and security benchmarks the Iraqi government
must achieve or risk losing vital reconstruction aid. But those are not the
binding timetables originally sought by Democrats in legislation the president
vetoed earlier this month.
troop surge : 增兵