Released by the White House, Office of the Press Secretary
March 6, 2007
Pursuing a Strategy for Success in Iraq
In Focus: Renewal in Iraq
Today, President Bush Discussed The War On Terror In Remarks To The American Legion's Annual Convention In Washington, DC. The President discussed his strategy to achieve the goal of a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its people, provides security, and is an ally in the War on Terror.
- The Fight In Iraq Is Part Of A Larger Struggle Against Extremism That Is Unfolding Across The Broader Middle East. The extremists are fighting to control Iraq so they can establish it as a base from which to overthrow moderate governments in the region and plan new attacks on the American people.
- Now That The Battle For Baghdad Is Underway, Our Country Must Stand Behind Our Troops And Do Everything We Can To Aid Their Success. If American forces were to step back from Baghdad now, before it is more secure, the scale and scope of attacks would increase and intensify. Violence could spread across the entire country - and in time, the entire region. The enemy could emerge from the chaos emboldened - with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm our Nation.
The President Also Announced Former Senator Bob Dole And Former U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala Will Serve As Co-Chairs Of The President's Commission On Care For America's Returning Wounded Warriors. This Commission will conduct a comprehensive review of the care America is providing our wounded servicemen and women returning from the battlefield. It will examine their treatment from the time they leave the battlefield through their return to civilian life as veterans - so we can ensure we are meeting their physical and mental health needs.
- As This Commission Considers Long-Term Solutions, President Bush Has Also Directed VA Secretary Jim Nicholson To Lead A Task Force Of Seven Cabinet Members To Focus On And Respond To Immediate Needs.
The New Way Forward In Iraq
The New Strategy In Iraq Is Markedly Different From Previous Efforts. The strategy Multi-National Force in Iraq Commander General David Petraeus is pursuing makes securing Baghdad our top priority, gives our troops the reinforcements they need, and demands more from Iraq's elected government. Tactics of the strategy include:
- Establishing Over 40 "Joint Security Stations" Throughout Baghdad. In the past, our forces would help Iraqis clear out neighborhoods during the day, and then go back to their bases at night. This time, we will hold the neighborhoods we have cleared by establishing over 40 joint security stations throughout Baghdad. These will be neighborhood outposts where U.S. and Iraqi forces are jointly deployed 24 hours a day to secure the population, provide emergency aid to local communities, and gather information to root out extremist networks throughout the capital.
- At The Same Time, Our Forces Will Continue To Train The Iraqi Army And Police - So We Can Help Ensure That The Iraqi Forces Left Behind Are Capable Of Providing The Security That Baghdad Needs.
- Ordering Reinforcements Of More Than 20,000 Additional Soldiers And Marines To Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and partner with Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down the terrorists, insurgents, and roaming death squads.
- Demanding More From Iraq's Elected Government. In addition to steps they are taking to secure their capital, Iraq's leaders have committed themselves to a series of political benchmarks - to advance reconciliation, to share oil revenues among all of Iraq's citizens, to put the wealth of Iraq into the rebuilding of Iraq, to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's civic life, to hold local elections, and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province. Iraqis have already begun to deliver on some of these promises, and now Iraq's leaders must meet the other pledges they have made.
The Iraqi Government And Coalition Forces Have Made Initial Progress, And More Is To Come
The Plan General Petraeus Is Executing Is In Its Very Early Stages, But There Are Some Encouraging Signs. General Petraeus arrived in Baghdad in early February, and it is far too early to judge the success of his operation. However, Iraqi and U.S. forces are making gradual but important progress:
- The Iraqi government has completed the deployment of three additional Iraqi Army brigades to the capital. These additional forces join the nine National Police and seven Iraqi Army brigades already in the Greater Baghdad area.
- Iraq's leaders have lifted restrictions on Iraqi and Coalition forces that prevented them from going into certain areas, and U.S. and Iraqi troops are now pursuing the enemy in neighborhoods like Sadr City, where our operations were once restricted.
- About half of the joint security stations have been established in neighborhoods across Baghdad.
- Iraqi and U.S. forces have rounded up more than 700 people affiliated with Shia extremists and have recovered large weapons caches, including mortar weapons systems and rocket-propelled grenades.
- Iraqi and U.S. forces have launched successful operations against Sunni extremists, recently killing al Qaida terrorists in Baghdad, who were responsible for numerous bomb attacks.
- In the past two weeks, U.S. and Iraqi forces have uncovered large stockpiles of Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFPs), which are used by extremist groups to attack our troops.
Iraqis Are Beginning To Deliver On Benchmarks To Achieve Political Reconciliation.
- Iraq's Council of Ministers approved a national hydrocarbon law that provides for an equitable distribution of oil revenues throughout the country. The draft law will need to be enacted by the Iraqi Council of Representatives when it returns from recess, but the prospects for passage are excellent because all the major parliamentary blocs are represented in the cabinet.
- Last month, the Iraqi government approved a $41 billion budget that includes $10 billion dollars for reconstruction and capital investment.
- Iraq's leaders must meet the other pledges they have made. These include:
1) Narrowing the limitations of the de-Baathification law;
2) Establishing the framework and setting a date for provincial elections; and
3) Pursuing the constitutional review process.
To Succeed, Iraq's Leaders Need The International Community's Help. The United States supports the Iraqi government as it pursues an international initiative to build diplomatic, economic, and security support for its young democracy. Last week, the Iraqis announced that they will hold a conference in Baghdad that will include officials from Iraq's neighboring countries, as well as the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. It will be followed in April by a second conference that includes Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her counterparts from around the world.