Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bush praises military and families

President Bush praised the military and their families yesterday during a visit to Eielson Air Base in Alaska, calling the U.S. military the finest in the world.

Bush thanked the families of U.S. servicemen and women and credited them with helping to make the U.S. military the best.

"I can't thank you enough for all the sacrifices you have given. There is no question we have the finest military in the world, and one reason why is because we've got the finest military families in the world. These have been tough times on our families and I want to thank you for staying in the fight," he said.

Bush also extended thanks to the soldiers of Fort Wainwright, commenting on their toughness for training in temperatures of 50 below and fighting in 120 above.

A Stryker Brigade from Wainwright will soon deploy to Iraq.

Bush praised their sacrifice while placing their efforts within the greater context of the war on terror.

"Deployments are difficult, but they are necessary," he said. "We are a nation at war. Oh, some in America say, this is a simple law enforcement matter -- dealing with these extremists who would do us harm is law enforcement. Well, if it's a law enforcement matter, that means you react after the crime. I think it's important, and I know most of you here think it's important, to stop the crime from happening in the first place."

Bush said the Stryker Brigade heading into Iraq faces a situation much different than the previous Stryker Brigade, due to the successes over the last year.

"About a year ago people thought Iraq was lost and hopeless. People were saying, let's get out of there; it doesn't matter to our national security. Iraq has changed -- a lot -- thanks to the bravery of people in this hangar and the bravery of troops all across our country. The terrorists on the run. The terrorists will be denied a safe haven, and freedom is on the march. And as a result, our children are more likely to grow up in a peaceful world. And I thank you for your service and I thank you for your sacrifice," he said.

Bush said freedom flows from the Almighty and urged American's to remember the power of liberty.

"It is important for the United States of America never to forget the transformative power of liberty. I believe there's an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth is freedom. And I know free societies yield the peace we all want. It's in our national interest to keep the pressure on the terrorists, to give them no safe haven, no place to hide, to keep them on the run."

Task Force 49 Stryker Brigade from Fort Wainwright was one of the first units to spend 15 months in Iraq.

Bush announced Sunday that Army will reduce the length of deployments to 12 months.

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