President Bush says these are tough times in Iraq, but America will follow through on its commitment to bring peace and democracy to the Iraqi people. During a nationally broadcast news conference, Mr. Bush signaled he would be willing to send more troops if commanders on the ground think it is necessary.

The president opened the news conference with a speech laying out America's goals in Iraq and defending his policies. "America's objective in Iraq is limited, and it is firm," he said. "We seek an independent, free and secure Iraq."

Mr. Bush acknowledged there have been a couple of tough weeks in Iraq. He said no one wants to see the bodies of the dead on television, adding he grieves for the fallen.

Speaking at a time when support for his handling of the Iraqi situation is slipping at home, the president said the American people must understand what is at stake. "We're not going to leave. We are going to do the job," he said. "And a free Iraq is going to be a major blow for terrorism."

Mr. Bush said the recent surge in violence is not a civil war or an uprising. He said it is a power-grab by elements that want the coalition to leave, and he vowed they will fail.