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Bush Threatens to Deal 'Harshly' with Iraqis Attacking US Troops - 2003-07-02

President Bush says he will deal "harshly" with Iraqi militia attacking U.S. troops. President Bush says continuing attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq will not weaken his resolve to stay in the country as long as it takes to restore stability.

"There are some who feel like the conditions are such that they can attack us there," said Mr. Bush. "My answer is bring them on. We have got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."

Mr. Bush says he welcomes contributions from other countries including the British, Polish, and Ukranian troops in Iraq. He says Iraqi militants trying to chase coalition troops from the country will fail.

"We are not going to get nervous and we are not leaving until we accomplish the task," he continued. "And the task is going to be a free country run by the Iraqi people."

The president says U.S. troops will deal harshly with people sabotaging Iraqi infrastructure, including power and oil lines, saying those acts are not really hurting America. He says they are hurting Iraqis.

With Americans increasingly concerned by continuing attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq, Mr. Bush is speaking out more forcefully about his resolve to punish those responsible.

"Anybody who wants to harm American troops will be found and brought to justice," he promised. "There are some who feel like if they attack us that we may decide to leave prematurely. They do not understand what they are talking about if that is the case."

The president said it is "just a matter of time" before U.S. troops find evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The immediacy of the threat from those weapons was one of the biggest reasons Mr. Bush gave for invading Iraq. So far, none of those weapons have been found.