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Inside Politics

Was going to war worth it?



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QUESTION: Sir, you've made it very clear tonight that you're committed to continuing the mission in Iraq, yet, as Terry pointed out, increasing numbers of Americans have qualms about it.

And this is an election year.

BUSH: Yes.

QUESTION: Will it have been worth it, even if you lose your job because of it?

BUSH: I don't plan on losing my job. I plan on telling the American people that I've got a plan to win the war on terror. And I believe they'll stay with me. They understand the stakes.

Look, nobody likes to see dead people on their television screens. I don't. It's a tough time for the American people to see that. It's gut wrenching.

One of my hardest parts of my job is to console the family members, who've lost their life. It's a chance to hug and weep and to console, and to remind the loved ones that the sacrifice of their loved one was done in the name of security for America and freedom for the world.

One of the things that's very important, Judy, at least as far as I'm concerned, is to never allow our youngsters to die in vain. And I made that pledge to their parents. Withdrawing from the battlefield of Iraq would be just that, and it's not going to happen under my watch.

The American people may decide to change. That's democracy. I don't think so. I don't think so. And I look forward to making my case. I'm looking forward to the campaign.

Now's the time to talk about winning this war on terror. Now's the time to make sure that the American people understand the stakes and the historic significance of what we're doing.

And no matter where they may stand on this war, the thing I appreciate most about our country is the strong support given to the men and women in uniform. And it's vital support. It's important for those soldiers to know America stands with them, and we weep when they die, and we're proud of the victories they achieve.

One of the things I'm also proud of is what I hear from our soldiers. As I mentioned, I pinned the Purple Heart on some of the troops at the hospital there at Fort Hood, Texas. A guy looks at me and says, "I can't wait to get back to my unit and fulfill the mission, Mr. President."

The spirit is incredible. Our soldiers who have volunteered to go there understand the stakes, and I'm incredibly proud of them.

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