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Bush Pledges No Relenting in Fight Against Terrorism - 2003-08-27

President Bush is defending the occupation of Iraq as American casualties increased to 140, two more than the number of U.S. soldiers killed since Mr. Bush declared an end to major combat operations nearly four months ago.

President Bush says there will be no relenting in the fight against terrorism. That means staying on the offensive against those continuing to attack U.S. troops in Iraq.

"Retreat in the face of terror would only invite further and bolder attacks," he said. "There will be no retreat," he said.

Speaking to the world's largest veteran's group in the Midwest city of St. Louis Tuesday, President Bush said he honors the memory of all who have died in the fight against terrorism.

"Our military is confronting terrorism in Iraq, in Afghanistan and other places so our people will not have to confront terrorist violence in New York or Saint Louis or Los Angeles," he said.

President Bush told the annual convention of the American Legion that U.S. military success in the Second World War took years,not months to transform Europe into a stable democratic region where former enemies became allies and keeping the peace. He said success in Iraq will similarly help spread democracy throughout the Middle East.

"The people who yearn for liberty and opportunity in countries like Iran and throughout the Middle East are watching, and they are praying for our success in Iraq," he emphasized.

Mr. Bush said the United States is a nation that understands its responsibilities and keep its word to prevent what he calls murderers from determinating of the future of Iraq or the Middle East, on top of the September 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

Mr. Bush said the world has seen the deadly work of terrorists in Bali, Mombassa, Riyadh, Jakarta, Casablanca and last week bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress are calling for more U.S. troops in Iraq to fight the guerrilla war they are facing there. The Bush Administration says U.S. troop levels at present are appropriate.