Like Vietnam, Iraq Is an 'Ideological' Fight, Says Bush

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:32 PM EDT

( - President Bush on Wednesday compared the war in Iraq to other wars the United States has fought. Like World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, the war in Iraq is an "ideological struggle" and part of the "war on terror," he said.

President Bush was speaking at the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Kansas City, Mo., where several presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat, have spoken this week.

"Despite the mistakes that have been made, despite the problems we have encountered," said Bush, "seeing the Iraqis through as they build their democracy is critical to keeping the American people safe from the terrorists who want to attack us."

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) praised Bush for "correctly" asking "the question that is on the minds of many men and women fighting al Qaeda in Iraq: 'Will their elected leaders in Washington pull the rug out from under them just as they are gaining momentum and changing the dynamic on the ground?'"

"House Republicans are prepared to ensure this doesn't happen, and every day more and more of our Democratic colleagues agree with us, bucking their party leaders in the process," said Boehner.

America must set the foundation for peace, a challenge that U.S. veterans have bravely met over the years, said Bush. However, he warned that "a free Iraq is not going to be perfect."

"A free Iraq will not make decisions as quickly as the country did under the dictatorship," said Bush. "Many are frustrated by the pace of progress in Baghdad, and I can understand this."

Bush went on to defend Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, saying he's "a good guy, a good man with a difficult job and I support him. ... And it's not up to the politicians in Washington, D.C., to say whether he will remain in his position. That's up to the Iraqi people."

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