( dpa ) - President George W Bush said Monday that security gains that have been made in Iraq under his troop buildup should encourage Americans to remain committed to stabilizing the country.
Bush cited the sharp decline in violence that has taken place since last year, when he ordered an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq to quell growing violence, raising the US presence there to 160,000 soldiers.
"While the enemy is still dangerous and more work remains, the American and Iraqi surges have achieved results few of us could have imagined just one year ago," Bush said in his final State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.
"When we met last year, many said containing the violence was impossible. A year later, high-profile terrorist attacks are down, civilian deaths are down, and sectarian killings are down."
Bush credited the decision by tribal leaders in the once tumultuous al-Anbar region to help combat al-Qaeda operating there as key reason why violence is down in the province, and he described it as a sign that Iraqis largely reject the efforts by terrorists.
Bush said that the troop surge has led to the killing or capture of hundreds of terrorists and militants, repeating accusations that some of them have been armed by Iran.
Iraqis "who had worried that America was preparing to abandon them instead saw tens of thousands of American forces flowing into their country," Bush said, referring to the political pressure he has faced, mostly from opposition Democrats in Congress, to begin withdrawing US forces.