The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 13, 2007

Fact Sheet: "Return On Success" Guiding Principle For Troop Levels In Iraq

      In Focus: Iraq

President Bush Accepts Recommendations To Maintain Security Gains With Fewer U.S. Forces

Tonight, President Bush Will Announce That He Has Accepted General David Petraeus' Recommendations To Reduce The American Presence In Iraq And Begin Transitioning In December To The Next Phase Of Our Strategy. Before reaching this decision, the President consulted with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, other members of his national security team, Iraqi officials, and leaders of both parties in Congress. The principle guiding his decisions on troop levels in Iraq is "return on success" – the more successful we are, the more American troops can return home.

Our Nation's Moral And Strategic Imperatives In Iraq Are One: We Must Help Iraq Defeat Those Who Threaten Its Future – And Also Threaten Ours

The Success Of A Free Iraq Is Critical To The Security Of The United States – If We Withdraw Prematurely, Violent Extremists Would Be Emboldened, And We Would Leave To Our Children A Far More Dangerous World. Al Qaeda could gain new recruits and sanctuaries. Iran would benefit from the chaos and be encouraged in its efforts to gain nuclear weapons and dominate the region. Extremists could control a key part of the global energy supply. Iraq, an ally that has placed its trust in the United States, could face a humanitarian nightmare, and democracy movements throughout the region would be violently reversed.

The Principle Guiding The President's Decision Is "Return On Success"

Our Success In Meeting Surge Objectives Allows Us To Begin Bringing Some Of Our Troops Home. The premise of our strategy is that securing the Iraqi population is the foundation for all other progress. This week, General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified before Congress and made clear that our challenge in Iraq is formidable. Yet they concluded that conditions in Iraq are improving, that we are seizing the initiative from the enemy, and that the troop surge is working.

The Iraqi Government Must Now Bring The Same Determination It Has Demonstrated Taking On Extremists To Achieving Reconciliation

Iraq's Government Has Not Yet Met Its Own Legislative Benchmarks – And President Bush Has Made It Clear That It Must – But Iraq's National Leaders Are Making Political Progress. For example, they have passed a budget, they are sharing oil revenues with the provinces, and they are allowing former Ba'athists to rejoin Iraq's military or receive government pensions. In addition, local reconciliation is taking place, and the key now is to link this progress in the provinces to progress in Baghdad. As local politics change, so will national politics.

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