President Bush said Tuesday that a plan to bolster Iraqi security forces in Baghdad will better address the violence there as he pledged to be a “strong partner” with Iraq’s new democratic government.
Bush thanked Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his courage and perseverance in the face of sectarian violence as the Shiite politician made his first visit to the White House. Recent violence has sapped political support for the more than 3-year-old war in Iraq, in both the United States and Iraq.
“He comes wondering whether or not we are committed. He hears all kinds of things coming out of the United States,” Bush said. “And I assured him that this government stands by the Iraqi people.”
Bush said improved military conditions outside Baghdad will make it possible to move U.S. military police and other forces to the capital, where an estimated 100 people a day are being killed. The crimes, blamed largely on sectarian death squads, usually go unsolved.
“Conditions change inside a country,” Bush said at a joint White House news conference with the Iraqi leader. “The question is, ‘will we be facile enough to deal with them, will we be nimble enough.’ ” Bush said the answer is yes.
The new strategy will involve “embedding more U.S. military police with Iraqi police units to make them move effective,” the president said. …