U.S. President George Bush says the United States will stay the course in Iraq,
despite a new series of bombings in Baghdad.
The president says terrorists want to stop the progress that is taking place
in Iraq and intimidate those who want a better future. He says they cannot
stand the thought of a free society.
"The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become,
the more electricity that is available, the more jobs that are available, the
more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become," he
Mr. Bush said the vast majority of Iraqis wants to live in a peaceful, free
world, and the United States has an obligation to help achieve that. "It is
in the national interest of the United States that a peaceful Iraq emerges," added
Mr. Bush, "and we will stay the course in order to achieve this objective."
He spoke after a meeting at the White House with the chief U.S. administrator
in Iraq, Paul Bremer. During a brief session with reporters, the president
appeared to go out of his way to reassure the Iraqi people, saying he is more
determined than ever to work with them.
Mr. Bremer carried on that theme, saying there are difficult times, but the
move toward a free, democratic Iraq goes on. "We're moving ahead with our plan," said
Mr. Bremer. "We have had rough days, such as we have had the last couple of
days, but the overall thrust is in the right direction, and the good days outnumber
the bad days; and that is the thing we need to keep in perspective."
Paul Bremer and General John Abizaid, the U.S. military commander for Iraq,
made plans to come to Washington to brief the president and other top U.S.
officials well before the latest surge in violence. They arrived at the White
House just hours after a new series of bombings in Baghdad that included a
blast outside the local offices of the International Red Cross and several
Dozens of people were killed in the bombings and hundreds more were wounded.
They occurred as Muslims throughout Iraq and the world were marking the start
of the holy month of Ramadan.