His war policies under siege at home, US President George W. Bush said Saturday there would be no early troop withdrawal because "sober judgment" must prevail over emotional calls to end the military mission before Iraq is stabilized.
"We will fight the terrorists in Iraq. We will stay in the fight until we have achieved the victory that our brave troops have fought for," Bush told thousands of American troops spilling out of a cold hangar at this US military installation south of Seoul. "The defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice."
The speech added the president's voice to a nasty debate in Congress over his Iraq policies and the timing of any US withdrawal. It also continued a rapid-fire White House counterattack against the president's newly aggressive war critics.
Bush spoke at the end of a three-day stay in South Korea, laying over here for little more than an hour after meetings with 20 other Pacific Rim leaders in Busan, South Korea. Immediately after speaking, he left for China - the most anticipated segment of his weeklong Asian swing.