Week Ending Friday, May 12, 2006

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Author: George W. Bush  | Date: May 12, 2006

Remarks Following a Meeting With Military and Diplomatic Leaders,
May 12, 2006

I’ve just completed a second meeting with former Secretaries of State and former Secretaries of Defense on Iraq. We also discussed the broader Middle East as well.

I want to thank you all very much for sharing your thoughts not only with me but with the Vice President and Secretary Rice and Secretary Rumsfeld. It really means a lot to hear your thoughts and your concerns and your suggestions about the way forward in Iraq. We’ve had our disagreements in thiscountry about whether or not we should be there in the first place. Now the fundamental question is, how do we achieve our objectives, which is 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.

Since we last met, there has—a unity government is now in the process of becoming formed. I’ve got great hopes about this unity Government. We’ve got a Shi’a as the Prime Minister-designee, a Sunni as the Speaker, a Kurd as the President, all of whom have dedicated themselves to a country moving forward that meets the hopes and aspirations of the Iraqi people.

There are certainly challenges, and the Secretaries here discussed those challenges with us. Perhaps the main challenge is the militia that tend to take the law into their own hands. And it’s going to be up for the Government to step up and take care of that militia so that the Iraqi people are confident in the security of their country. It’s important to have a secure Iraq in order for people to go about their daily lives. And we understand that.

I also assured the Secretaries here that this Government is committed to success. They’ve got good people on the ground. We’ve got brave troops that are working every day to help this country succeed and, at the same time, deny safe haven to Al Qaida.

And again, I want to thank the members for coming—the former Secretaries for coming. I think it’s very useful for those of us who are helping to plot the strategies and the tactics to help secure this country, to hear from you. I’m optimistic about our successes. 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.

So thank you for coming.

Note: The President spoke at 10:30 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Prime Minister-designate Jawad al-Maliki, Speaker of the Parliament Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, and President Jalal Talabani of Iraq. Participating in the meeting were former Secretaries of State Colin L. Powell, Madeleine K. Albright, Warren Christopher, James A. Baker III, and Alexander M. Haig, Jr.; and former Secretaries of Defense William S. Cohen, Frank C. Carlucci, James R. Schlesinger, Melvin R. Laird, and Robert S. McNamara.

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Chicago: George W. Bush, "Remarks Following a Meeting With Military and Diplomatic Leaders, May 12, 2006," Week Ending Friday, May 12, 2006 in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, May 12, 2006 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2006), 42:915-916 Original Sources, accessed December 3, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4NMNQSJP5J1P5FM.

MLA: Bush, George W. "Remarks Following a Meeting With Military and Diplomatic Leaders, May 12, 2006." Week Ending Friday, May 12, 2006, in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, May 12, 2006 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2006), 42:915-916, Original Sources. 3 Dec. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4NMNQSJP5J1P5FM.

Harvard: Bush, GW, 'Remarks Following a Meeting With Military and Diplomatic Leaders, May 12, 2006' in Week Ending Friday, May 12, 2006. cited in , United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, May 12, 2006 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2006), 42:915-916. Original Sources, retrieved 3 December 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4NMNQSJP5J1P5FM.