Bush Touts Progress, Warns of Iran's Influence
ALEX CHADWICK, host:
This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.
As noted moments ago with Ed Wong of The New York Times, Iraqis vote on Thursday in parliamentary elections. And that was the theme of a speech today by President Bush. After the speech, the president took questions from an audience that contained many foreign policy experts. We're going to begin with a clip from that part of it. The president was asked the approximate total number of Iraqis who've been killed in the war.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: How many Iraq citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000 more or less have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.
CHADWICK: Today's speech by the president was the third in a series that he's giving about Iraq. Here he is. He was speaking in Philadelphia.
Pres. BUSH: I can think of no better place to discuss the rise of a free Iraq than in the heart of Philadelphia, the city where America's democracy was born.
CHADWICK: But, the president reminded his listeners, this was no easy delivery. The years between the American Revolution and the ratification of the Constitution were a time of, quote, "disorder and upheaval."
Pres. BUSH: In 1783, Congress was chased from this city by angry veterans demanding back pay, and they stayed on the run for six months. There were tensions between the mercantile North and the agricultural South that threatened to break apart our young republic. And there were British loyalists who were opposed to independence and had to be reconciled with America's new democracy. Our founders faced many difficult challenges. They made mistakes, they learned from their experiences and they adjusted their approach.
CHADWICK: The president said the last two and a half years in Iraq have been a period of difficult struggle. But he noted that Thursday's vote will be third vote in just the last year.
Pres. BUSH: It's a remarkable transformation for a country that has virtually no experience with democracy and which is struggling to overcome a legacy of one of the worst tyrannies the world has known. And Iraqis achieved all this while determined enemies used violence and destruction to stop the progress. There's still a lot of difficult work to be done in Iraq, but thanks to the courage of the Iraqi people, the year 2005 will be recorded as a turning point in the history of Iraq, the history of the Middle East and the history of freedom.
CHADWICK: President Bush speaking earlier today before the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.
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