Calling the level of violence in Iraq "unacceptable," President George W. Bush announced plans to send approximately twenty thousand additional U.S. soldiers and marines to help the democratically elected Iraqi government battle terrorists and insurgents. "It is clear we need to change our strategy," said Mr. Bush.
In addition to boosting U.S. troop levels, Mr. Bush spoke of the necessity of defending Iraq's "territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges":
"This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We'll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."
Mr. Bush said that the United States was also "taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East":
"I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence-sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region."
President Bush says that the challenge playing out in the Middle East "is more than a military conflict":
"On the one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent."
"It is in the interests of the United States," says President Bush, "to stand with the brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their freedom, and to help them as they work to raise up just societies across the Middle East."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.