Bush Sees Attackers as Growing Desperate Amid Progress in Iraq
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 27, 2003
President Bush, meeting with L. Paul Bremer III, the chief administrator in Baghdad, said today that U.S. progress in Iraq is making insurgents more "desperate" and fueling attacks.
Filed at 10:39 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush said Monday that U.S. progress in Iraq is making insurgents more ``desperate'' and spurring attacks such as the bombings at the international Red Cross headquarters and four police stations across Baghdad that killed dozens of people.
``The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity that's available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become,'' Bush told reporters at the White House.
He said those who are continuing to engage in violence ``can't stand the thought of a free society. They hate freedom. They love terror. They love to try to create fear and chaos.''
But Bush, sitting next to civilian U.S. Iraqi administrator L. Paul Bremer in the Oval Office, said he remains ``even more determined to work with the Iraqi people'' to restore peace and civility to the wartorn nation.
Said Bremer: ``We'll have rough days ... but the overall thrust is in the right direction and the good days outnumber the bad days.''
Bush called those orchestrating the attacks ``cold-blooded killers.''
Bremer and the U.S. military commander for Iraq, Gen. John Abizaid, previously had scheduled meetings with the president, Secretary of State Donald H. Rumsfeld and others here before the latest outburst of violence. The goal of the meetings among other things was to focus on what lies ahead for occupation forces.
Defense officials said earlier Monday that they thought loyalists of fallen Iraq leader Saddam Hussein likely were responsible for the latest series of bombings and described the last two days as a significant spike in attacks -- a surge of violence which showed some level of coordination.
Officials said, however, they couldn't say just how coordinated the attacks were.
A number of Iraqis were killed and captured in the attacks, one official said, although he said he didn't know the number and had no other details.
As they have said following previous attacks, U.S. officials vowed that the newest wave of violence will not deter them from their aim of stabilizing the country, systematically rooting out remnants of the former regime and training Iraqis to take over responsibility for security.
Bush vowed to track down those carrying out the escalating attacks, which the president said are being conducted by a minority in Iraq.
``The vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world,'' the president said. ``We will find these people and we will bring them to justice. It's in the national interest of the United States that a peaceful Iraq emerge and we will stay the course in order to achieve this objective.''
Bush insisted anew that he would veto an Iraq reconstruction package overall aid package if the Iraqi reconstruction money were to be structured as a loan.
``The reason why is that we want to make sure the constraints on the Iraqi people are limited so they can flourish and become a free and prosperous society,'' he said.
Last week, the White House threatened to veto the overall $87 billion aid package for Iraq and Afghanistan if any of the Iraqi reconstruction money was structured as a loan.
Congressional negotiators are trying to work out differences between the House and Senate versions of the aid package. The Senate had some of the Iraqi money structured as a loan; the House did not.