A total of 10 former U.S. leaders gathered at the White House with Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the current secretaries of State and Defense Friday to discuss Iraq and the Middle East.
Bush admitted that some of the former officials -- such as Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright -- disagreed with him about starting military action against Iraq but said, "Now the fundamental question is, how do we achieve our objectives, which (are) a democracy which can defend itself, sustain itself, a country which is an ally in the war on terror, and a country which serves as a powerful example for others who desire to be free."
"I'm optimistic about our successes," the president said. "I know this: The only way we will not succeed is if we lose our nerve, we don't have faith in our values and that we're constantly changing tactics on the ground to achieve our objectives."
Other participants did not immediately make comments about the meeting.
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