THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Well, good
morning. Thanks for coming. I've just met with our leaders here at
the Pentagon, who are monitoring the course of our battle to free Iraq
and rid that country of weapons of mass destruction. Our coalition is
on a steady advance. We're making good progress.
We're fighting an enemy that knows no rules of law, that will wear
civilian uniforms, that is willing to kill in order to continue the
reign of fear of Saddam Hussein. But we're fighting with bravery and
We cannot know the duration of this war. Yet we know its outcome;
we will prevail. The Iraqi regime will be disarmed. The Iraqi regime
will be ended. The Iraqi people will be free. And our world will be
more secure and peaceful.
The people of our military and their families are showing great
courage, and some have suffered great loss. America is grateful to all
those who have sacrificed in our cause.
Our coalition is strong. It's bound together by the principle of
protecting not only this nation, but all nations from a brutal regime
that is armed with weapons that could kill thousands of innocent
people. America has more than 200,000 men and women engaged in
Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Our troops also continue to fight bravely in other fronts of this
war on terror. In Afghanistan last week, coalition forces launched
Operation Valiant Strike against terrorists and their allies in the
southern mountains of Afghanistan. Of course, we have troops standing
watch in other parts of the world to protect and maintain the peace.
All the members of the military, abroad, at home, or here in this
important building, are bound together by a great cause, to defend the
American people and advance the universal hope of freedom.
America has accepted this responsibility. We also accept the cost
of supporting our military and the missions we give it. Today, I'm
sending the Congress a wartime supplemental appropriations request of
$74.7 billion, to fund needs directly arising from the Iraqi conflict
and our global war against terror. My request to Congress will pay for
the massive task of transporting a fully-equipped military force, both
active duty and reserve, to a region halfway around the world.
This money will cover the current cost of fueling our ships and
aircraft and tanks, and of airlifting tons of supplies into the theater
of operations. The supplemental will also allow us to replace the
high-tech munitions we are now directing against Saddam Hussein's
My request includes funds for relief and reconstruction in a free
Iraq. This nation and our coalition partners are committed to making
sure that the Iraqi citizens who have suffered under a brutal tyrant
have got the food and medicine needed as soon as possible.
Tommy Franks briefed us this morning about coalition efforts to
demine the harbors -- the harbor -- to make sure that our
humanitarian relief can be delivered safely to the Iraqi people.
Coalition forces are working hard to make sure that when the food and
medicine begins to move, it does so in a safe way. And soon, the Iraqi
people will see the great compassion of not only the United States, but
other nations around the world who care deeply about the human
condition inside that country.
Our campaign in Iraq involves assistance of coalition partners and
friends in the Middle East. The funding request to Congress will help
reduce the economic burdens these countries have experienced in
supporting our efforts. Also included are funds essential to waging,
and helping our partners wage, the broader war on terror, which
continues in Afghanistan, in the Philippines, and elsewhere.
We continue to fight the war on terror by protecting our homeland.
At the federal level, I'm requesting more resources for the Departments
of Justice and Homeland Security, to deal with this period of
uncertainty. We'll provide resources for patrolling and safeguarding
our borders; funds to help the FBI investigate domestic threats in this
time of war; additional funding for the Coast Guard for port security
in the United States and in the Middle East.
In this time of heightened security, we are expecting states and
communities to take on greater responsibilities to protect critical
infrastructure. And so I'm seeking additional resources to help states
and cities make these preparations for the protection of our citizens.
Yesterday I informed the leaders of Congress of these spending
requests. The situation in any war is fluid. I reminded them of that
fact, and so I'm asking Congress for flexibility in how these funds can
be allocated. They heard that message. They also heard the message
that the need is urgent. The wartime supplemental is directly related
to winning this war, and to securing the peace that will follow this
war. I ask Congress to act quickly and responsibly.
One thing is for certain: Business as usual on Capitol Hill can't
go on during this time of war. And by that I mean the supplemental
should not be viewed as an opportunity to add spending that is
unrelated, unwise, and unnecessary. Every dollar we spend must serve
the interests of our nation, and the interests of our nation in this
supplemental is to win this war and to be able to keep the peace.
Eighteen months ago, this building came under attack. From that
day to this, we have been engaged in a new kind of war -- and we are
winning. We will not leave our future to be decided by terrorist
groups or terrorist regimes. At every turn in this conflict, Americans
can be confident in the people who wear our nation's uniform. We
support them. We are thankful for their service in places of great
danger, in this hour of great need.
May God continue to look out after those who defend the peace and
freedom. And may God continue to bless America. Thank you.