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Bush Thanks Troops at Easter

President Bush marked Easter weekend with a message of thanks for U.S. troops serving overseas. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, opposition Democrats say the war in Iraq is distracting from the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.

President Bush said, at Easter, Americans are thinking about U.S. troops on the front lines who will spend this holiday far from home.

"I deeply appreciate the sacrifices that they and their families are making," he said. "America is blessed with the world's greatest military, made up of men and women who fulfill their responsibilities with dignity, humility, and honor."

In his weekly radio address, President Bush said Americans remember those who have given their lives.

"These brave individuals have lived out the words of the Gospel: 'Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.' And our nation's fallen heroes live on in the memory of the nation they helped defend," he added.

The war in Iraq entered its sixth year this past week. Nearly 4,000 American troops have been killed. The latest public opinion poll by CBS News says nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of how President Bush is handling the war.

Mr. Bush said earlier this week the conflict is noble and just and the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.

In the Democratic radio address, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez said President Bush is wrong to claim that the war has made America safer. Menendez said Democrats oppose what he called the president's flawed policies in Iraq.

"Instead of making more sweeping claims of victory, as he did this week, it's time for the president to face the reality of the situation we are in," he said. "President Bush should tell us the truth: that after thousands of lives lost and perhaps trillions of American taxpayer dollars, Iraq remains crippled by violence and corruption, still light-years from building a stable government or a lasting peace."

Menendez said the war has severely depleted the resources and morale of the U.S. armed forces. Because of Iraq, Menendez said, President Bush has not finished the job in Afghanistan where he said al-Qaida is regrouping and the hunt for Osama bin Laden has been compromised.