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Bush Draws Comparisons Between Iraq War, WWII
Bush Draws Comparisons Between Iraq War, WWII
Bush Arrived At NAS North Island On Monday
SAN DIEGO -- A resolute President George W. Bush, facing a public wary of his war policies, declared Tuesday at Naval Air Station North Island that "we will not rest until victory is America's and our freedom is secure."
Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, the president drew comparisons between that 20th-century conflict and current wars on terror and in Iraq.
"As we mark this anniversary, we are again a nation at war. Once again war came to our shores with a surprise attack that killed thousands in cold blood," he said at a naval base here, referring to Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
He said that as in the time of World War II, the United States now faces "a ruthless enemy" and "once again we will not rest until victory is America's and our freedom is secure."
Bush invoked the memory of his father as a young Navy pilot shot down over the Pacific and of an optimistic Franklin Roosevelt calling on Americans to defend liberty. He portrayed Roosevelt's vision as similar to his own -- a commitment to spreading freedom even when U.S. allies were not convinced it was the best course.
"Franklin Roosevelt refused to accept that democracy was finished," Bush said. "His optimism reflected his belief that the enemy's will to power could not withstand our will to live in freedom."
The president praised veterans of World War II two weeks after the anniversary of the August 14, 1945, surrender by Japan that ended that conflict.
"The freedom that was born of your sacrifice has lifted millions of God's children across the Earth," he said while standing in the shadow of the red, white and blue-adorned USS Ronald Reagan, the newest aircraft carrier in the fleet.
The speech at the Naval Air Station North Island here was the president's third address about Iraq or the war on terrorism in less than two weeks, part of an intensified effort to allay the fears of a public that has become increasingly skeptical about his Iraq policies.
Iraq woes have dogged Bush throughout his August break.
One grieving mother who lost a son in Iraq set up camp near Bush's ranch just days after he got there, demanding to meet with the president and promising to stay until she could question him about the war.
Cindy Sheehan was denied a meeting, a decision some administration officials now are second-guessing, since what started as a one-woman mission turned into a sprawling anti-war protest that drew close media attention. Hundreds of people from across the country have joined Sheehan and have asked the president to bring home troops immediately. Bush supporters countered with their own gathering nearby.
At the same time, it was an especially bloody month in Iraq, with the number of U.S. military members who have died since March 2003 now nearing 1,900.
The count, coupled with polls that show public backing of the Iraq war slipping, has taken a toll on national support for Bush. His approval rating on Iraq has fallen below 40 percent in polls.
Also contributing to Bush's discomfort was the Iraqi government's effort to craft a constitution. The process was marked by repeated delays. Though now complete, the final version is far from what U.S. officials had envisioned. Critics say the document does not adequately protect religious freedom and women's rights.
Air Force One touched down at Naval Air Station North Island Monday. The president and first lady Laura Bush arrived at the Coronado base about 4:30 p.m. following brief stops earlier in the day in Ontario, Calif., and Arizona. The president did not speak to reporters, who were hoping he might say something about Hurricane Katrina.
Several military officials met the president before he was escorted to the Hotel Del Coronado in a presidential limousine. The president and first lady spent the night there.
Following the address, the president paid a visit to the Naval Medical Center San Diego in Balboa Park.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was also in San Diego Monday. Rumsfeld hung out with the boys of summer at Petco Park, watching the Padres game from a skybox. Earlier Monday, Rumsfeld met with 1,000 soldiers and civilians at the national training center in
Should President George W. Bush be in the Southwest drumming up support for his policies while Hurricane Katrina batters the Gulf Coast?
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