President George W. Bush declared Sunday night that Iraq's elections signal the birth of democracy in the Middle East, arguing against a US troop pullout while acknowledging the doubts of some "that the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day."
"It is also important for every American to understand the consequences of pulling out of Iraq before our work is done," Bush said. "We would abandon our Iraqi friends and signal to the world that America cannot be trusted to keep its word. ... We would hand Iraq over to enemies who have pledged to attack us and the global terrorist movement would be emboldened and more dangerous than ever before."
Bush said last week's voting for parliament will not bring an end to the violence in Iraq, where he has estimated that 30,000 civilians and more than 2,100 Americans have died. But he said Iraq's election "means that America has an ally of growing strength in the fight against terror."
His speech came amid an uproar in Congress over whether he exceeded his powers in conducting the war on terror with a secret eavesdropping program and on a day that Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise visit to Baghdad.