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Bush State Of The Union On Iraq

In his State of the Union address to both houses of the U.S. Congress, President George W. Bush said the United States is deploying more than twenty thousand additional U.S. soldiers and Marines to Iraq in order to help the Iraqi government end sectarian violence and fight terrorists:

"The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down the terrorists, insurgents, and the roaming death squads. And in Anbar Province, where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them, we're sending an additional four thousand United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out. We didn't drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq."

Iraq's leaders, said President Bush, have committed themselves to achieving reconciliation, sharing oil revenues among all citizens, putting the country's wealth into reconstruction efforts, allowing more Iraqis to re-enter civic life, and holding local elections. But these goals, he said, cannot be achieved without security:

"The people of Iraq want to live in peace, and now it's time for their government to act. Iraq's leaders know that our commitment is not open-ended. They have promised to deploy more of their own troops to secure Baghdad -- and they must do so. They pledged that they will confront violent radicals of any faction or political party -- and they need to follow through, and lift needless restrictions on Iraqi and coalition forces, so these troops can achieve their mission of bringing security to all of the people of Baghdad."

"If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides," said Mr. Bush. A "contagion of violence" could spread across Iraq, he said, out of which would emerge "an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America." That is why, said President Bush, nothing is more important than for the United States to succeed in Iraq and the broader Middle East.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.