The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 13, 2006

Fact Sheet: Strategy for Victory: Defeating the Terrorists and Training Iraqi Security Forces

Today's Presidential Action

Today, President Bush Delivered The First In A Series Of Speeches Updating The American People On Our Strategy For Victory In Iraq. The President delivered an update on progress in training Iraqi Security Forces and explained Coalition efforts to combat improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The President's Strategy for Victory in Iraq has three tracks: political, economic, and security. Today's speech focused on the security track.

The Iraqi People Have Chosen A Future Of Freedom And Peace

After The Brutal Terrorist Attack On The Golden Mosque of Samarra, The Iraqi People Looked Into The Abyss And Did Not Like What They Saw. The attack on the Golden Mosque of Samarra was a clear attempt to ignite a civil war. There were mass protests and reprisal attacks in response to the provocation, but by their response over the last two weeks, the Iraqi people have shown the world they want a future of freedom and peace, and they will oppose a violent minority that seeks to take that future away.

While The Situation Is Still Tense, We Have Also Seen Signs Of National Unity. We saw the restraint of the Iraqi people in the face of massive provocation. Many Iraqis showed solidarity by coming together in joint Sunni-Shia prayer services. We saw the leadership of Sunni and Shia clerics, the capability of the Iraqi Security Forces, and the determination of many of Iraq's leaders to come together and act decisively to diffuse the crisis.

Iraqis Now Have A Chance To Show The World That They Have Learned The Lesson Of Samarra. A country that divides into factions and dwells on old grievances risks sliding back into tyranny. Soon, the new parliament will be seated in Baghdad and begin forming a new government. This will demand negotiation and compromise by the Iraqis - and patience by America and our Coalition allies. Yet out of this process, a free government will emerge that represents the will of the Iraqi people - instead of the will of one cruel dictator.

Iraqi Security Forces Are Taking The Lead In Defending Their Democracy

The Aftermath Of The Samarra Mosque Attack Shows The Progress Made By The Iraqi Security Forces. After the Samarra bombing, Iraqi Security Forces - not Coalition forces - restored order. Iraqi leaders put the Iraqi Security Forces on alert - canceling leaves and heightening security around mosques and critical sites. In Baghdad and other trouble spots, Iraqi police manned checkpoints, increased patrols, ensured peaceful demonstrators were protected, and arrested those who turned to violence. Public Order Brigades deployed rapidly to areas where violence was reported. During the past two weeks, Iraqi Security Forces have conducted more than 200 independent operations.

A Major Goal Of 2006 Is To Accelerate Training Of The Iraqi Police. The Iraqi police still lag behind the Army in training and capabilities. One problem is that some police units have been disproportionately Shia - and there have been reports of infiltration of the National Police by militias. We are taking a number of steps to correct this problem:

As More Capable Iraqi Police And Soldiers Come Online, They Will Assume Responsibility For More Territory. The goal is to have the Iraqis control more territory than the Coalition by the end of 2006. Today, Iraqi units have primary responsibility for more than 30,000 square miles of Iraq - an increase of 20,000 square miles since the beginning of the year. As Iraqis take over more territory, American and Coalition forces can concentrate on hunting down high-value terrorist targets.

Coalition Forces Are Combating The Threat Of IEDs

The Terrorists Are Turning To A Weapon Of Fear Because They Know They Cannot Defeat Us Militarily. After the terrorists were defeated in the battles in Fallujah and Tall Afar, they saw they could not confront Iraqi or American forces in pitched battle and survive. So they turned to IEDs - a weapon that allows them to attack from a safe distance, without having to face our forces in battle. Innocent Iraqis are the principal victims of IEDs.

Our Strategy To Defeat IEDs Has Three Elements: Targeting, Training, And Technology. To combat IEDs, the Administration has established a new high-level organization at the Department of Defense, led by retired four-star General Montgomery Meigs.

The President Is Committed To Providing The Funding And Personnel Needed To Succeed. In 2004, the Administration spent $150 million to fight the IED threat. Last year, the funding was increased to $1.35 billion, and this year, we are providing $3.3 billion to support our efforts to defeat IEDs.

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