Bush calls wartime supplemental budget request 'urgent'
By Kathleen T. Rhem, American Forces Press Service
/ Published March 25, 2003
WASHINGTON -- The president said today his $74.7 billion wartime supplemental budget request is urgent and "directly related to winning this war and to securing the peace that will follow this war."
President Bush visited the Pentagon and told a roomful of senior defense officials that the money, once appropriated by Congress, would pay for "needs directly arising from the Iraqi conflict and our global war against terror."
Those needs include the costs of transporting troops and equipment to the Persian Gulf region; fueling ships, aircraft and tanks; and replenishing the country's stocks of "high-tech munitions we are now directing against Saddam Hussein's regime."
It also covers "relief and reconstruction in a free Iraq," Bush said. "This nation and our coalition partners are committed to making sure that the Iraqi citizens who have suffered under a brutal tyrant have got the food and medicine needed as soon as possible."
The president said U.S. humanitarian efforts would lead to the Iraqi people seeing "the great compassion of not only the United States but other nations around the world who care deeply about the human condition inside that country."
In remarks broadcast live to military bases around the world, Bush said, "Military members and their families are showing great courage, and some have suffered great loss." He expressed America's gratitude to "those who have sacrificed in our cause."
He noted the Iraqi forces are not following accepted rules of warfare by wearing civilian clothes to attack coalition forces. "But we're fighting them with bravery and courage," he added.
"We cannot know the duration of this war, yet we know its outcome," Bush said. "We will prevail. The Iraqi regime will be ended. The Iraqi people will be free, and our world will be more secure and peaceful."
In his visit to the Pentagon, Bush met with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior leaders regarding the supplemental budget request and operational issues.
After his meetings and brief remarks, Bush and Rumsfeld took several minutes to visit with 100 or more military members who had assembled outside the secretary's office. The president shook hands and posed for pictures, some taken by Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers. Myers had jumped in front of the president to collect service members' cameras so he could snap their pictures when the president got to them.