The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 17, 2007

President Bush Participates in Video Teleconference with Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Team Leaders and Brigade Combat Commanders
Roosevelt Room

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  Presidential Remarks

10:10 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Secretary Rice and Secretary Gates, General Pace, members of my national security team have just listened to some briefings from provincial reconstruction teams in Iraq. I want to thank our fellow citizens for serving on the front line of -- in this war against extremists and radicals. I appreciate their dedication, and I appreciate the sacrifice of their families.

General Odierno just briefed us on an interesting statistic. He said that for the week of September 8-15, attack levels across Iraq are the lowest they have been since January of 2006, which, of course, is a time prior to the Samarra bombing. And when you couple that with grassroots efforts that our PRT -- provincial reconstruction teams are making, you begin to get a sense of why I'm confident that we can succeed in Iraq, why I believe that the efforts that we're making toward making sure that extremists like al Qaeda doesn't have safe haven from which to plot attacks and, at the same time, helping people realize the blessings of liberty which will yield long-term peace can happen, can succeed.

And so I told the folks there that, on behalf of a grateful nation, that we thank them for what they're doing. And I look forward to further discussions with those who actually see the progress that is taking place, with those who are living amongst the people and can report firsthand that the success that was reported on by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker now happens on a -- is happening on a daily basis.

Now, there's no question we got more work to be done. But the question I always ask myself is, is the mission important to the security of the United States? And the answer is, absolutely. And can we be successful? And the answer to that is, yes, we can.

And I want to thank you all very much for seeing to it that we will be successful. Thank you for your time, and we ask for God's blessings on you.

Thank you.

END 10:12 A.M. EDT

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