On July 4, Bush Relates Iraq to American Revolution

President Bush poses for photographs n Martinsburg, West Virginia.

President Bush poses for photographs with family members of the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard after speaking in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Holiday Special

In what has become something of a Fourth of July tradition, President Bush traveled to West Virginia — the fourth time in his presidency he has gone there on Independence Day.

Mr. Bush marked the occasion by promoting something he had lately stopped talking about — victory in Iraq.

Despite being saddled with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, President Bush got a warm welcome today in Martinsburg. It was an invitation-only crowd, mainly West Virginia Air National Guardsmen and their families.

Mr. Bush made no mention of the fact that he served in the Texas Air National Guard at a time when the nation was mired in the Vietnam War. Instead, the president spoke of a war that was won — the United States' long and bloody war for independence.

"More than two decades [sic] later," the president said, "it is hard to imagine the Revolutionary War coming out any other way. But at the time, America's victory was far from certain. In other words, when we celebrated the first 4th of July celebration, our struggle for independence was far from certain."

The allusion clearly was to the uncertainty that shrouds the war in Iraq. But also to the prospect of eventual victory there, as well. Recently, President Bush had stopped using the words "win" or "victory" when talking about Iraq. But he once again called for triumph in his West Virginia speech.

However difficult the fight is in Iraq, we must win it," Mr. Bush said. "We must succeed for our own sake. For the security of our citizens, we must support our troops, we must support the Iraqi government, and we must defeat al-Qaida in Iraq," the president said to a round of applause.

But doing that, he said, will not be easy, as he noted, "Victory in this struggle will require more patience, more courage, and more sacrifice."

Mr. Bush warned that advice from military commanders in Iraq — rather than politics — should dictate any troop withdrawals. Before leaving for Congress' Fourth of July recess, though, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed to turn up the political pressure to get out of Iraq:

"We have many arrows in our quiver," Pelosi said, "and we are sharpening them, including taking a bill to the floor in July to authorize the redeployment of troops out of Iraq."

A showdown over Iraq is in store in the Senate as well, starting next week.



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