Bush hails evidence of waning Iraq violence | VailDaily.com

Bush hails evidence of waning Iraq violence

Jennifer Loven
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colroado
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APPresident Bush, right, greets Iraq War veteran Lt. Andrew Kinard, left, during his arrival at Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Columbia, S.C., Friday.

FORT JACKSON, S.C ” President Bush said Friday that U.S. military deaths have fallen to their lowest levels in 19 months and the Iraqi people are slowly “taking back their country” in the wake of the American troop buildup there.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony for new soldiers at Fort Jackson, Bush said that parts of Iraq continue to be violent and that terrorists remain determined.

“But what they have learned about the United States of America is that we are more determined,” Bush said. “We are more determined to protect ourselves and to help people realize the blessings of freedom.”

Bush said corruption remains a problem and unemployment remains high, but that Iraqi forces have now assumed responsibility in security in eight of Iraq’s 18 provinces.

“With our help, the Iraqi people are going on the offense against the enemy. They’re confronting the terrorists and they’re are taking their country back.”

Before he spoke, he took a tour of the school’s “fit-to-win course,” which requires recruits to negotiate up to twenty obstacles. He addressed about 180 soldiers at the site deep in the piney woods, telling them he was proud of their efforts and that they would help secure a peaceful future for America.

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