TOPICS > Nation

Securing Iraq: Background

August 22, 2003 at 12:00 AM EDT


MARGARET WARNER: Now to the Iraq story. It’s been a devastating week there. The United Nations lost 23 people, including its top emissary, in Tuesday’s truck bombing. U.S. forces are still taking near-daily fatalities.

And the commander of U.S. forces declared yesterday that terrorism was now the number one security problem there. All this has renewed debate in Washington and elsewhere over the size and composition of the occupying force. President Bush was asked about that at a stop in Seattle today.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We do need and welcome more foreign troops into Iraq. And there will be more foreign troops into Iraq. And what that will do is that will enable many of those troops to guard the infrastructure.

If you notice what’s happening, of course, is as the life of the average Iraqi begins to improve, those who hate freedom, you know destroy the infrastructures that we’ve been improving. It’s part of their strategy. We’ll get more people guarding that. And that will help free up our hunter teams.

We’re getting better human intelligence. Every day that goes by, we’re getting more solid evidence from Iraqi citizens about the whereabouts of certain former thugs, or current thugs of a former regime is a better way to put it. I always said the United Nations ought to have a vital role.

They were playing a vital role in Iraq, such a vital role, that the killers decided to destroy the very people that were providing food for the hungry and medicine for the afflicted. Now what kind of mind-set is that? It is that kind of mentality that we must defeat if we expect the world to be secure and peaceful.

And so, yeah, there will be a vital role for the U.N.. as a matter of fact, we’re discussing regulation… I mean resolutions now about how to encourage other nations to participate in the process.