President Bush says the enemies of freedom will be defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a Veterans' Day speech, the president vowed tyranny will not return to these two troubled countries.
On the day America remembers its military veterans, President Bush's thoughts were clearly with those currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Our men and women are fighting to help democracy and peace and justice rise in a troubled and violent region," he said. "Our men and women are fighting terrorist enemies thousands of miles away in the heart and center of their power so that we do not face those enemies in the heart of America."
The president said terrorists have chosen to make a stand in Iraq and test America's resolve. He said they are dangerous and pose the greatest threat in one part of the country, the so-called Baathist Triangle, named after the party of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
"Here the enemy is waging the battle. And it is here that the enemy will be defeated," he said.
He spoke of a loose alliance of Saddam Hussein loyalists, Muslim extremists and foreign fighters. The president emphasized this alliance is killing and threatening not only coalition forces, and international relief workers, but individual Iraqis as well.
Mr. Bush made specific mention of those Iraqis who have chosen to help their country during the transition to democracy by serving as police, border guards, and as members of a new Iraqi army. He said the Iraqis are gradually assuming the responsibilities and risks of protecting their own country.
"The vast majority of Iraqis know exactly what is going on in their country toda," he said. "Having seen the worst of tyranny, the Iraqi people will reject the return of tyranny."
The president's comments came in a Veteran's Day speech to the Heritage Foundation, a group of conservative scholars based in Washington. The president's strong defense of his policy in Iraq was warmly received by his audience, which cheered when Mr. Bush said America will not walk away from the war on terrorism, but will complete the mission it has begun.