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Bush Says War in Iraq Makes America More Secure

President Bush is hoping to revive falling public support for the war in Iraq by convincing Americans that U.S. troops fighting abroad are making them safer at home. Opposition Democrats say the president's approach to Iraq will only lead to more U.S. casualties.

President Bush says U.S. troops fighting overseas are laying the foundations of peace for generations to come.

"Our troops know that they are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere to protect their fellow Americans from a savage enemy," he said. "They know that, if we do not confront these evil men abroad, we will have to face them one day in our own cities and streets, and they know that the safety and security of every American is at stake in this war, and they know, we will prevail."

The president has a series of events in the coming week meant to regain support for the war in Iraq at a time when public opinion polls show less than 40 percent of Americans approve of the way he is handling the war.

Mr. Bush will visit with National Guard troops in the western state of Idaho, and visit an Air Force base, before addressing a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars to thank them for giving today's troops what he calls a noble example of devotion and courage.

The president then returns to his Texas ranch, where anti-war protesters continue a vigil begun by the mother of a serviceman killed in Iraq. Mr. Bush did not directly mention those protests in his weekly radio address. But with nearly 2,000 Americans killed in Iraq, he did pay tribute to those, who, he says, have given their lives to defend their fellow citizens and bring the hope of freedom to millions.

"We owe these fallen heroes our gratitude, and we offer their families our heartfelt condolences and prayers," said Mr. Bush. "Now, we must finish the task that our troops have given their lives for, and honor their sacrifice by completing their mission."

In the Democratic radio address, former Georgia Senator Max Cleland said President Bush was wrong to over-state successes early in the war by saying the mission was accomplished and major combat was over. Instead, Mr. Cleland says, Iraq is not secure, and America does not have sufficient forces there to make it secure.

"We are running out of time," he said. "We need a strategy to win in Iraq, or an exit strategy to leave. The present course will lead us to disaster. More of the same just means more precious blood spilled in the desert."

As a veteran who lost an arm and both legs in Vietnam, Senator Cleland says he has seen the toll that war can take on American troops and the country.

"It's time to face the truth. It's time for a strategy to win in Iraq, or a strategy to get out," he said. "I learned in Vietnam that the best way to support our troops is to either give them the forces and the equipment needed to win, or bring them home, so we can care for those who have borne the battle."

President Bush says there will be no timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq, because that would signal the United States is weak.

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