A few words from the Boss
Our military and civilians in Iraq are performing with courage and
distinction, and they have the gratitude of our whole Nation.
launched a surge of their own. In the fall of 2006, Sunni tribal leaders grew
tired of al Qaida's brutality and started a popular uprising called "The Anbar
Awakening." Over the past year, similar movements have spread across the
country. And today, this grassroots surge includes more than 80,000 Iraqi
citizens who are fighting the terrorists. The government in Baghdad has stepped
forward as well — adding more than 100,000 new Iraqi soldiers and police during
the past year.
While the enemy is still dangerous and more work remains, the
American and Iraqi surges have achieved results few of us could have imagined
just 1 year ago:
When we met last year, many said containing the violence was
impossible. A year later, high profile terrorist attacks are down, civilian
deaths are down, and sectarian killings are down.
When we met last year,
militia extremists — some armed and trained by Iran — were wreaking havoc in
large areas of Iraq. A year later, Coalition and Iraqi forces have killed or
captured hundreds of militia fighters. And Iraqis of all backgrounds
increasingly realize that defeating these militia fighters is critical to the
future of their country.
When we met last year, al Qaida had sanctuaries in
many areas of Iraq, and their leaders had just offered American forces safe
passage out of the country. Today, it is al Qaida that is searching for safe
passage. They have been driven from many of the strongholds they once held, and
over the past year, we have captured or killed thousands of extremists in Iraq,
including hundreds of key al Qaida leaders and operatives. Last month, Osama bin
Laden released a tape in which he railed against Iraqi tribal leaders who have
turned on al Qaida and admitted that Coalition forces are growing stronger in
Iraq. Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but among the
terrorists there is no doubt. Al Qaida is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy
will be defeated.
When we met last year, our troop levels in Iraq were on the
rise. Today, because of the progress just described, we are implementing a
policy of "return on success," and the surge forces we sent to Iraq are
beginning to come home.
This progress is a credit to the valor of our troops
and the brilliance of their commanders. This evening, I want to speak directly
to our men and women on the frontlines. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and
Coast Guardsmen: In the past year, you have done everything we have asked of
you, and more. Our Nation is grateful for your courage. We are proud of your
accomplishments. And tonight in this hallowed chamber, with the American people
as our witness, we make you a solemn pledge: In the fight ahead, you will have
all you need to protect our Nation. And I ask the Congress to meet its
responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding our troops.
Thanks, and your welcome, boss.