Statement by President Bush to the Travel Pool After Lunch With Military Personnel

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a transcript of remarks by President Bush:

Marine Corps Base Quantico

12:43 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: It's my honor to come to Quantico to speak to our general officers and our officers and sergeants who train young lieutenants. I had the chance to speak to some of the lieutenants. First of all, my first impression is, it's amazing country where people volunteer in the face of danger. These lieutenants -- Marine lieutenants fully understand the nature of the world in which we live, and they're willing to serve; willing to serve to protect and defend this country, and they're willing to serve to help shape the conditions so that the world is more peaceful.

I told them about my speech last night. I told them that I'd listened very carefully to the recommendations of the military, in particular General Petraeus, and that the plan I announced was that we're making enough -- based upon the fact we're making enough success in Iraq that we can begin bringing some troops home; that I told the American people last night we've got what's called return on success. I also told them that our commanders will have the flexibility and the troops needed to achieve the mission, which is an ally in this war on terror, and a stable country that can self govern, a democracy in the heart of the Middle East .

I made it clear that the sacrifices that they and their families were going to make were necessary for the short-term and long-term security of the country; that we'd rather defeat the enemy overseas than have to face them here; that we fully understand, or I fully understand that if we were to be driven out of Iraq that the Middle East could be in chaos, and chaos would embolden Sunni extremists like al Qaeda, and chaos would embolden Iran ; and that it's in our interests that we help Iraq succeed -- not only in our interests, but it's also in the Iraqis' interests.

I made it clear to them that there's a lot of courage in Iraq . These Iraqis are in the fight. But I also made it clear to them that we expect the Iraqi government to enhance national reconciliation through the passage of law. I told them that I was able to give the speech because of the progress being made. I hope the American people listened very carefully to what our commanders and Ambassador Crocker had to say. They're there, they understand the progress that's being made.

I also made it clear that now's the chance for us to come together as a nation; that some of us who believe security was paramount were on opposite sides of the debate, where people said we just simply need to bring our troops home. Well, now we've got security in the right direction, and we are bringing our troops home. And I call upon the United States Congress to listen very carefully to what General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker reported, and support the troop levels that these two men think are necessary to achieve our objective. I also expect the Congress to support our men and women in uniform, and their families, and those who have worn the uniform.

And so it's a great honor to be out here to speak with an incredible group of men and women. It's my honor to be their Commander-in-Chief.

Thank you for your time.

END

12:46 P.M. EDT

SOURCE White House Press Office



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