President Bush says U.S. and Iraqi forces ending the insurgency in Fallujah are helping restore order ahead of democratic elections planned for January.
President Bush says American Marines and soldiers, alongside Iraqi security forces are clearing mosques of weapons and explosives and restoring order for law-abiding citizens in Fallujah.
Despite the offensive against what Mr. Bush called a base of operations for terrorist attacks, the defeat of the insurgency there will not stop violence elsewhere in Iraq. The president says international support for establishing security before January's vote is essential.
"As those elections draw near, the desperation of the killers will grow, and the violence could escalate," the president said. "The success of democracy in Iraq would be a crushing blow to the forces of terror, and the terrorists know it. The defeat of terror in Iraq will set that nation on a course to lasting freedom, and will give hope to millions, and the Iraqi people know it. And a free, democratic Iraq will inspire reformers throughout the Middle East and make America more secure."
In his weekly radio address, President Bush said the discovery of houses where terrorists killed hostages in Fallujah is new evidence of what he calls "the enemy's brutality. "
"The terrorists have shown once again the stakes of this struggle," he said. "They seek to spread fear and violence throughout Iraq, throughout the Broader Middle East and throughout the world, and they will fail. The terrorists will be defeated, Iraq will be free, and the world will be more secure."
While the president says America's commitment to the success of democracy in Iraq is unshakable, Iraq must ultimately be able to defend itself. And he says Iraqi forces are taking increasing responsibility for their country's security.
"As we see in Fallujah, and as we saw in Najaf and elsewhere, Iraqi security forces are standing and fighting and risking their lives for the future of their nation," said president Bush. "As terrorists have targeted these forces, still more brave Iraqis have come forward as volunteers."
With 115,000 Iraqi soldiers, police, and security personnel already trained and equipped, President Bush says the country is on track to field a force of more than 200,000 by the end of next year.
Like the people of Afghanistan, who just finished their first democratic election, President Bush says the people of Iraq are embracing a democratic future, despite threats and intimidation, by registering to vote, forming political parties, and choosing candidates.