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Bush: US Troops to 'Remain Tough' in Fighting Iraqi Militia - 2003-07-10


With attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq continuing, President Bush says coalition forces will "remain tough" in fighting Iraqi militia opposed to the U.S.-led invasion.

President Bush says it is clear there are still serious threats to coalition troops in Iraq, and he vowed to continue the fight until that opposition is defeated.

"There is no question we have got a security issue in Iraq and we are just going to have deal with it person by person. We're going to have to remain tough," the president said.

More than 30 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq since President Bush declared major combat operations over more than two months ago.

Mr. Bush blames the attacks on forces still loyal to the former government, and says the vast majority of Iraqi citizens are "thrilled" that Saddam Hussein is no longer in power.

"The more involved Iraqi citizens are in the transitional government, the more likely it is the average citizen will understand that once again the apologists for Saddam Hussein are bringing misery on their country," he said.

The president says it is going to take more than 100 days for Iraqis to recognize what he calls "the great joys of freedom" and the responsibilities that come with that freedom.

Mr. Bush is facing growing domestic concern about continuing attacks on the more than 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq at the same time he is dealing with an admission that part of his case against Saddam Hussein was based on forged documents.

In his January State of the Union address, President Bush said British intelligence agents reported that the then-Iraqi leader had tried to buy significant quantities of uranium from Niger.

Those documents were turned over to the International Atomic Energy Agency which concluded in March that they were forgeries.

Amid growing questions about how Mr. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair justified their invasion of Iraq, the White House now acknowledges that that part of the case against Iraq was not correct.

Intelligence panels in both houses of the U.S. Congress are examining how the Bush administration used pre-war intelligence on Iraq.

The immediacy of the threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was one of the president's biggest justifications for toppling Saddam Hussein. More than two months after the fall of Baghdad, none of those weapons has yet been found.