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Retired US Military Commander Endorses Bush - 2004-09-03

Retired General Tommy Franks has praised President Bush as commander-in-chief on the final evening of the Republican National Convention in New York City.

General Franks, who led U.S. military action in Afghanistan in October 2001 and in Iraq in March of last year, commended Mr. Bush for his decision to undertake those missions. "We see resolve in the faces of emerging leaders of Iraq and Afghanistan as they build their new nations. And soon, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, we will see free elections. In Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism and tyranny are being replaced by freedom, hope, and opportunity," he said.

General Franks said the United States is safer today because the country has hardened its defenses and taken the fight to the terrorists.

But he said there is still more work to do, and he said President Bush is the man to do it. "He is a leader we can count on to make the right decisions. I choose George W. Bush because his vision to take the fight to the terrorists is the best way to protect our country. I choose George W. Bush because he stands up for the American fighting man and woman and because he remembers our veterans," he said.

The general praised Mr. Bush for his support of the military, from making sure troops have the necessary gear for battle to increasing their pay.

Other speakers at the convention this week have criticized Mr. Bush's Democratic Party challenger, Senator John Kerry, for opposing an $87 billion military spending bill to support U.S. troops.

Mr. Kerry has defended his vote by saying he wanted spending for the Iraq war to be paid for by increased taxes on the wealthy.

Both Senator Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, and President Bush have campaigned hard to win the support of military families and veterans.