WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- President Bush Wednesday vowed there would be no cut-and-run from Iraq despite spiraling violence in the country.
"I fully understand the American people are seeing unspeakable violence on their TV screens," he said. "These are tough times in Iraq. The enemy is doing everything within its power to destroy the government and to drive us out of the Middle East, starting with driving us out of Iraq before the mission is done."
Bush added that leaving Iraq prematurely would embolden terrorists who would use it as a sanctuary.
"I want to repeat to you the reality of the world in which we live," he said. "If we were to leave before the job is done, the enemy is coming after us. And most Americans ... understand we've got to defeat them there so we don't face them here."
Iraq is weighing heavily in midterm elections, with Democrats attacking Bush policies. Some Republicans have joined in the criticism as public disapproval of the conflict grows.
Bush noted important political developments in Iraq. Among them, he said, was the four-month-old government of Prime Minister Jawad al-Maliki's decision to establish joint Shiite and Sunni neighborhood committees that would work with security forces to head off sectarian violence, its demobilization of an Iraqi security battalion suspected of participating in sectarian violence or at least doing nothing to stop it, and it's outreach efforts to Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province.
"The reason I bring this up, these examples up, is that there's a political process that's going forward, and it's the combination of security and a political process that will enable the United States to achieve our objective, which is an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself, defend itself, and be an ally in this war on terror," Bush said.
"Iraq's government -- Iraq's democratic government is just four months old. Yet, in the face of terrorist threats and sectarian violence, Iraq's new leaders are beginning to make tough choices. And as they make these tough decisions, we'll stand with them, we'll help them. It's in our interests that Iraq succeed."