President Bush answered growing antiwar protests yesterday with a fresh reason for US troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists, the AP reported Wednesday via the (registration-restricted) Boston Globe. Excerpts...
The president, standing against a backdrop of the USS Ronald Reagan, the newest aircraft carrier in the Navy's fleet, said terrorists would be denied their goal of making Iraq a base from which to recruit followers, train them, and finance attacks.
''We will defeat the terrorists," Bush said. ''We will build a free Iraq that will fight terrorists instead of giving them aid and sanctuary."
Appearing at Naval Air Station North Island to commemorate the anniversary of the Allies' World War II victory over Japan, Bush compared his resolve to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's in the 1940s and said America's mission in Iraq is to turn it into a democratic ally just as the United States did with Japan after its 1945 surrender. Bush's V-J Day ceremony did not fall on the actual anniversary. Japan announced its surrender on Aug. 15, 1945 -- Aug. 14 in the United States because of the time difference.
Democrats said Bush's leadership falls far short of Roosevelt's.
''Democratic Presidents Roosevelt and Truman led America to victory in World War II because they laid out a clear plan for success to the American people, America's allies, and America's troops," said Howard Dean, Democratic Party chairman. ''President Bush has failed to put together a plan, so despite the bravery and sacrifice of our troops, we are not making the progress that we should be in Iraq. The troops, our allies, and the American people deserve better leadership from our commander in chief."
Originally published on Wednesday August 31, 2005.