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Troop pullout from Iraq will bolster enemy: Bush

The President says such a move will embolden an enemy that wants to harm Americans and may turn Iraq into a terrorist state.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2006 12:20 IST

President George W Bush says withdrawing US troops too quickly from Iraq would lead to a terrorist Iraq that would be more dangerous than Afghanistan in the grip of the Taliban militia.

Bush spoke at a political fundraiser, which raised more than $1.5 million for the Tennessee Republican Party and Bob Corker, who faces a tough Senate race for November's election against Democratic nominee Harold Ford Jr.

If the United States should leave Iraq prematurely, Bush said, it would embolden an enemy that wants to harm Americans and shred US credibility internationally.

"If we leave Iraq before the job is done, it will create a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East, a terrorist state much more dangerous than Afghanistan was before we removed the Taliban, a terrorist state with the capacity to fund its activities because of the oil reserves of Iraq," Bush said.

Promising victory in Iraq, Bush said: "The stakes are high. It's very important for the American people to understand that the security of the United States of America, the capacity of our children to grow up in a peaceful world, in large part depends on our willingness to help this young Iraq democracy succeed. And we will succeed."

Bush delivers the first in a series of speeches on his campaign against terrorists at the annual American Legion convention in Salt Lake City.

The appearances will continue through the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks and culminate on September 19 when Bush addresses the UN General Assembly.

First Published: Aug 31, 2006 12:20 IST