Kansas City: President Bush wants a nation running short on patience with the Iraq war to take a long view, comparing it to US involvements in Asia that lost popular backing but eventually proved their worth and led to lasting peace.
''The ideals and interests that led America to help the Japanese turn defeat into democracy are the same that lead us to remain engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq,'' Bush said in advance excerpts of a Wednesday speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
''The defense strategy that refused to hand the South Koreans over to a totalitarian neighbor helped raise up an Asian Tiger that is a model for developing countries across the world, including the Middle East,'' Bush said.
Bush even cites Vietnam as a cautionary tale for those urging troop withdrawals today.
''Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left,'' Bush said. ''Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps' and 'killing fields.'''
Frustration with Al Maliki
Meanwhile, Bush has notably tempered his view of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki.
When they met in Jordan last November, the president called Al Maliki ''the right guy for Iraq.'' Now, he continually prods Al Maliki to do more to forge political reconciliation before the temporary military buildup ends.
''I think there's a certain level of frustration with the leadership in general, inability to work -- come together to get, for example, an oil revenue law passed or provincial elections,'' Bush said in Canada on Tuesday.