WASHINGTON – Saying that terrorists retreat when confronted by strength, President Bush said that the international community has a duty to make sure that Iraq (search) is stable so that the Middle East does not become an "exporter of violence and terror."
"We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan (search) today, so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities," Bush said in a televised address to the nation Sunday night.
Speaking just days before the two-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Bush said the United States cannot turn tail and run.
"The terrorists have cited the examples of Beirut and Somalia, claiming that if you inflict harm on Americans we will run from a challenge," Bush said. "In this they are mistaken."
The president spoke slowly and deliberately in front of a podium in the White House Cabinet room. Bush sought to reassure Americans that the continuing skirmishes against coalition forces are not the work of Iraqis in general but of loyalists to deposed dictator Saddam Hussein and terrorists who don't want a stable democracy in the heart of the Middle East.
"Some of the attackers are former members of the old Saddam regime, who fled the battlefield and now fight in the shadows. Some of the attackers are foreign terrorists, who have come to Iraq to pursue their war on America and other free nations. We cannot be certain to what extent these groups work together. We do know they have a common goal, reclaiming Iraq for tyranny," Bush said.
Not offering a timetable for how long a coalition presence will be needed in Iraq, Bush said the north and southern regions there are generally stable and moving toward reconstruction and self-government, but Iraq is still the "central front" in the war on terror and its emergence as a democratic nation is pivotal to making the globe terror-free.
Currently, 130,000 American troops are in Iraq as well as 20,000 service members from 29 other countries. Bush said more U.S. troops are not needed. But he said two multinational divisions, led by the British and the Poles, are serving there, and U.S. military commanders have requested a third multinational division to serve in Iraq.
To that end, the president has sought another U.N. Security Council resolution, recognizing that several nations have suggested that they would be willing to send forces if a resolution authorizes it.
Speaking in conciliatory tones to Security Council members who opposed the use of force in Iraq, the president said they now have an opportunity and responsibility to make sure Iraq becomes a free and democratic nation.
"We cannot let past differences interfere with present duties. Terrorists in Iraq have attacked representatives of the civilized world, and opposing them must be the cause of the civilized world," he said.
Countries such as Britain, which already has 11,000 troops in Iraq, have said they will contribute more troops to the region. Countries that opposed the war in the first place -- namely France, Germany and Russia -- say they are open to negotiations on the language of the resolution but many think the United Nations should take more responsibility.
The U.S. resolution calls for a unified command under the direction of a U.S. commander -- a major sticking point for some countries who don't want the United States to have that much control.
National security adviser Condoleezza Rice (search), who appeared on "Fox News Sunday," said that Bush believes a resolution will provide much-needed political cover for some countries, particularly Muslim nations, to contribute to the effort in Iraq.
Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) said on Sunday morning talk shows that a new resolution could result in other nations sending 10,000 to 15,000 more troops to Iraq.
"There are a lot of demands on the international community -- in the Congo, in Liberia, in Bosnia, Kosovo, many other places," Powell said. "What we're really interested in this resolution, though, is to get the international community to come together and participate in the political reconstruction of Iraq."
Powell added that U.S. troops should be replaced in places of relative stability with trained and properly equipped Iraqis.
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean said Bush has created a much more dangerous situation in Iraq by not seeking international cooperation or having a post-war plan.
"It is nothing short of outrageous that the president spent 15 minutes trying to make up for 15 months of mismanagement," Dean said in a conference call after the president's address. Bush is "clutching at straws of misinformation."
Sen. Carl Levin (search) of Michigan, ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a frequent critic of the administration, added that Bush has to explain why he waited so long to go to the U.N.
"It's been so obvious to our commanders and to others that we need troops from other nations," Levin told Fox News. "We've got much too much stress on our own troops. We should not play into those hands by having this go-it-alone, Lone Ranger attitude, which the administration has had for much too long."
The resolution the White House submitted to the Security Council also addresses the new Iraqi Governing Council (search), which recently installed its cabinet members, and the steps the group must take to put Iraq on the road to democracy.
"The Security Council resolution we introduce will encourage Iraq's Governing Council to submit a plan and a timetable for the drafting of a constitution, and for free elections. From the outset, I have expressed confidence in the ability of the Iraqi people to govern themselves. Now they must rise to the responsibilities of a free people, and secure the blessings of their own liberty," Bush said.
Bush also pledged Sunday night to "spend what is necessary" in order to win the war on terror, a sum that could reach $87 billion for the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. Bush said he would request from Congress $66 billion to pay for military and intelligence in both Iraq and Afghanistan, of which $52 billion would go to Iraq and $11 billion for Afghanistan. Another $3 billion would go to help with "mobilization of coalition partners." An additional $21 billion would pay for reconstruction and security, including training of police forces and the army.
"This effort is essential to the stability of those nations, and therefore to our own security," Bush said.
Fox News has confirmed that the U.S. civil administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer (search), advised the president on the sum that would be needed, but Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he expects Iraq will need $100 billion in the next year.
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, also a presidential candidate, said other than the cost, the president did not indicate what his plan is for Iraq.
"Tonight, the president offered glowing rhetoric but few specifics on how we will erase the mismanagement of this administration in Iraq," Kerry said in a statement. "This president must offer more specifics on these and other important questions if he is to build the legitimacy and consent of this nation and our neighbors throughout the world to win the peace in Iraq and win the global war on terror.”
The president's request could go to Congress as early as Monday. The money would be a supplement to the Department of Defense's 2004 budget. The fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.
Defense Department officials have said U.S. operations are costing about $3.9 billion monthly. That figure excludes indirect expenses such as replacing damaged equipment and munitions expended in combat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.