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Key points from Bush speech

Programming note: Decorated veteran Rep. John Murtha and Republican Armed Services Committee Chair Sen. John Warner discuss President Bush's Iraq plan, 10 p.m. ET.
President Bush addresses the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on Wednesday.



• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide


White House

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (CNN) -- President Bush on Wednesday outlined the U.S. strategy in Iraq, offered details on the U.S. military's training program for Iraqi troops and reiterated his pledge not to withdraw forces until victory is achieved.

Following are excerpts from his address at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Iraq as part of war on terror

  • The terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity. And so we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.
  • This is an enemy without conscience, and they cannot be appeased. If we're not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people.
  • Against this adversary there is only one effective response: We will never back down, we will never give in, and we will never accept anything less than complete victory.
  • U.S. strategy

  • On the political side ... we're helping the Iraqis build a free society, with inclusive democratic institutions that will protect the interests of all Iraqis.
  • On the security side, coalition and Iraqi security forces are on the offensive against the enemy, cleaning out areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, leaving Iraqi forces to hold territory taken from the enemy, and following up with targeted reconstruction to help Iraqis rebuild their lives.
  • As we fight the terrorists, we're working to build capable and effective Iraqi security forces, so they can take the lead in the fight and eventually take responsibility for the safety and security of their citizens without major foreign assistance.
  • And on the economic side, we're helping the Iraqis rebuild their infrastructure, reform their economy and build the prosperity that will give all Iraqis a stake in a free and peaceful Iraq.
  • Progress in Iraq

  • Our goal is to train enough Iraqi forces so they can carry the fight. And this will take time and patience.
  • At this time last year there were only a handful of Iraqi battalions ready for combat. Now there are over 120 Iraqi army and police combat battalions in the fight against the terrorists, typically comprised of between 350 and 800 Iraqi forces.
  • At this moment, over 30 Iraqi army battalions have assumed primary control of their own areas of responsibility.
  • In Baghdad, Iraqi battalions have taken over major sectors of the capital, including some of the city's toughest neighborhoods.
  • A new generation of Iraqi officers is being trained: leaders who will lead their forces with skill, so they can defeat the terrorists and secure their own freedom.
  • Even though the terrorists are targeting Iraqi police and army recruits, there is no shortage of Iraqis who are willing to risk their lives to secure the future of a free Iraq.
  • In just over two and a half years, the Iraqi people have made incredible progress on the road to lasting freedom. Iraqis have gone from living under the boot of a brutal tyrant to liberation, free elections and a democratic constitution, and in 15 days they will go to the polls to elect a fully constitutional government that will lead them for the next four years.
  • Troop levels

  • We will stay as long as necessary to complete the mission.
  • If our military leaders tell me we need more troops, I will send them.
  • We will continue to shift from providing security and conducting operations against the enemy nationwide to conducting more specialized operations targeted at the most dangerous terrorists.
  • We will increasingly move out of Iraqi cities, reduce the number of bases from which we operate and conduct fewer patrols and convoys.
  • As the Iraqi forces gain experience and the political progress advances, we will be able to decrease our troop levels in Iraq without losing our capability to defeat the terrorists.
  • These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders, not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington.
  • Defining victory

  • Most Americans want two things in Iraq: They want to see our troops win and they want to see our troops come home as soon as possible. And those are my goals as well. I will settle for nothing less than complete victory.
  • Victory will come when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation.
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