President Bush yesterday vowed that U.S. troops would stay in Iraq despite ongoing attacks by Iraqis opposed to the occupation. And he taunted Iraqi militants who plan to attack American troops. He said:
“We’ll put together a force structure who meets the threats on the ground. And we’ve got a lot of forces there, ourselves. And as I said yesterday, anybody who wants to harm American troops will be found and brought to justice. There are some who feel like that if they attack us that we may decide to leave prematurely. They don’t understand what they’re talking about, if that’s the case.
“Let me finish. There are some who feel like — that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on. We’ve got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.”
Congressional Democrats quickly criticized Bush’s comment.
New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg said, “I am shaking my head in disbelief. When I served in the Army in Europe during World War II, I never heard any military commander — let alone the commander in chief — invite enemies to attack U.S. troops.” Lautenberg said Bush’s words were “tantamount to inciting and inviting more attacks against U.S. forces.”
Meanwhile at least seven US soldiers have been wounded in two separate attacks today on troops in Iraq.
And yesterday a U.S. Marine was killed and three others were injured while clearing mines in southern Iraq.
Meanwhile The Washington Post reports that the Bush administration has been struggling to enlist allies to contribute troops to the Iraqi occupation force.
The government has sought help from 70 countries but only 10 have agreed to contribute troops. And only Britain, Ukraine and Poland have provided substantial assistance.
President Bush yesterday sidestepped a question about his views on a constitutional amendment prohibiting unions betweens members of the same sex but he said “marriage is between a man and a woman.”
The Washington Post reports that the U.S. government plans to start beaming a Persian-language television newscast into Iran beginning on Sunday.
Last month President Bush praised Iranian protesters for demanding greater freedom from the clerics and for pursuing what he called a “free Iran.”
Yesterday, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade in the West Bank city of Qalqilya.
Meanwhile in Gaza, anti-tank rockets were fired at Jewish settlements. Following this, Israeli troops closed off the main road through Gaza.
This all happened on the same day Israeli troops pulled out of the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
The U.S. is considering sending between 500 and 2,000 peacekeeping troops to Liberia to oversee a cease-fire agreement in the West African nation. In addition President Bush called on Liberian President Charles Taylor to immediately step down.
Liberia, a nation of 3.3 million was founded in 1847 by freed slaves from the United States.