President Bush says the latest security sweep in Baghdad and al-Anbar province is showing signs of progress. At the same time, he urges patience, saying success in Iraq will take months, not weeks.
"Fewer than half the troop reinforcements we are sending have arrived in Baghdad. The new strategy will need more time to take effect. And there will be good days, and there will be bad days."
In his brief statement marking the fourth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion, Mr. Bush acknowledged the toll the war has taken.
"Four years after this war began, the fight is difficult, but it can be won. It will be won, if we have the courage and the resolve to see it through."
Once again, the president took issue with moves in the Democratic party-controlled Congress to set a deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by September 2008, as part of an emergency funding bill. He urged lawmakers to approve his request for emergency funding to meet this year's war expenses without conditions and without delay.
"It could be tempting to look at the challenges in Iraq, and conclude our best option is to pack up and go home. That may be satisfying in the short run. But I believe the consequences for American security would be devastating."
A few hours earlier, President Bush took part in a closed-door meeting on Iraq with members of his national security team, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He also conferred via teleconference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.