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Bush Blames Iraq Attacks on Saddam Loyalists, Foreign Terrorists - 2003-10-28

President Bush says recent deadly terrorist attacks in Iraq appear to be the work of Saddam Hussein loyalists and foreign terrorists. Mr. Bush says Iraq remains a dangerous place, but America's resolve to help the Iraqi people is firm.

The president says those responsible for the bombings want to kill and create chaos. "That is what terrorists do," he said. "They commit suicide acts against innocent people and then expect people to say 'well, we had better not try to fight you anymore.'"

But Mr. Bush says the terrorists will not win in Iraq, and America will not leave. "They are not going to intimidate America. And they are not going to intimidate the brave Iraqis who are actively participating in securing the freedom of their country," he said.

He spoke after a series of bombings in Iraq that included attacks outside the Red Cross headquarters, and police stations in the Iraqi capital and the city of Fallujah. He said he believes members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and foreigners were involved.

"The foreign terrorists are trying to create conditions of fear and retreat because they fear a free and peaceful state in the midst of a part of the world where terror has found recruits. Freedom is exactly what terrorists fear the most," he said.

The president said the United States is working closely with Syria and Iran to prevent foreign fighters from crossing into Iraq, and border patrols are increasing.

"Coalition forces have stepped up border patrol efforts. There are more Iraqis patrolling the border," he said.

Mr. Bush said overall, Iraqis are playing a greater role in providing security. Once again he stressed that far more than terrorism is taking place in Iraq and that progress is being made in areas from education to health care. But he acknowledged the bloodshed cannot be ignored.

When a reporter asked if he acted hastily in May when he said major combat was over, the president said he believed then and believes now that Iraq is a dangerous place.

"It is dangerous in Iraq because there are people who cannot stand the thought of a free and peaceful Iraq," he said. "It is dangerous in Iraq because there are some who believe that we are soft, that the will of the United States can be shaken by suiciders [suicide bombers]."

He said those behind the latest suicide bombings in Iraq have the same mentality as the men responsible for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. He said America learned a lesson on that day that it will never forget, and will win the war on terrorism on all its fronts, including in Iraq.