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Bush: US Troops Making Difference in Tsunami Relief

President Bush says U.S. troops are making a significant difference in the lives of those affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami. President Bush got an update on those relief efforts, and the fight against terrorism, during a briefing by military officials at the Pentagon.

President Bush says he is impressed with how quickly U.S. troops responded to the devastating tsunami.

"I have got to tell you, our military is making a significant difference in providing relief and aid and help and compassion for those who have suffered," he said.

Some of the president's political opponents criticized his initial pledge of $35 million for tsunami victims as too small, given the size and wealth of the United States. Mr. Bush quickly raised that amount to $350 million and says Washington is now helping lead the way to help those affected.

"You know there is a lot of talk about how some in the world don't appreciate America," he said. "Well, I can assure you that those who have been helped by our military appreciate America."

The president's Pentagon briefing also included an update on the fight against terrorism. Mr. Bush says the United States is constantly reviewing its strategy and recognizes that winning the fight requires coordinated efforts both within the U.S. government and with other nations that the president says understand what is at stake.

"I am pleased with the response from around the world," he said. "I appreciate so many nations understanding that we must work together to defeat these killers. I am mindful of the fact that we have constantly got to review our plans and never lose our will."

The president's military briefing comes a day after the White House confirmed that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is over.

The immediacy of the threat from those weapons was the president's biggest justification for invading Iraq, but none of those weapons have been found.

U.S. officials say intelligence reports were wrong, and the president has appointed a commission to find out why.

Despite the absence of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons in Iraq, White House spokesman Scott McClellan says it was still the right thing to topple Saddam Hussein because he had the capability to restart illegal weapons programs.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says the president needs to explain to Americans why he was so wrong for so long about the reasons for war.

In a television interview scheduled to air Friday, President Bush says he believed American troops would find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He says Saddam was dangerous and the world is safer without him in power.

 

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