Bush: 'Democracy will succeed' in Iraq
Bush: U.S., UK share 'alliance of values'
Bush spoke about U.S. policy in Iraq and elsewhere during an address in London Wednesday.
|ON CNN TV|
Watch CNN's ongoing live coverage of the Bush state visit to the United Kingdom.
President Bush makes key speech defending U.S. policy on Iraq.
CNN's Christiane Amanpour in Trafalgar Square, where thousands of protesters are expected.
A 41-gun salute rings out as Bush is welcomed at Buckingham Palace.
|BUSH'S UK VISIT ITINERARY|
Wednesday, November 19
• Attends formal welcoming ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
• Meets Britain's opposition leaders.
• Delivers speech on trans-Atlantic alliance.
• Meets British families "who lost loved ones on September 11."
• Speaks at state banquet in Buckingham Palace.Thursday, November 20
• Visits Westminster Abbey and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
• Meets soldiers who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families.
• Holds talks with Blair.
• Co-hosts roundtable discussion on HIV/AIDS with Blair
• Hosts reciprocal dinner for the queen.Friday, November 21
• Travels to Blair's northern England constituency of Sedgefield before returning to Washington.
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- As anti-war protesters took to London's streets Wednesday, President Bush delivered a key speech during his state visit to Britain, standing firm on U.S.-Iraq policy, and vowing that "democracy will succeed" there.
"We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq and pay a bitter cost of casualties and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins," Bush said. "We will help the Iraqi people establish a peaceful and democratic country in the heart of the Middle East."
In nearby Trafalgar Square, anti-war protesters staged what they called an "alternative state procession" to replace the ceremonial procession through the streets that might have normally been scheduled for a visit to Britain by a head of state. Such an event was not arranged because of security concerns.
The largest demonstration is expected Thursday, when an estimated 100,000 people are expected to march to the square. Demonstrators plan to topple an effigy of Bush in a display evoking the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein by U.S. forces in Baghdad in April.
Referring to the protests, Bush noted in his address that the "tradition of free speech" is "alive and well here in London. We have that at home too. They now have that right in Baghdad as well."
Drawing laughter at one point, Bush said that the last notable American to visit London "stayed in a glass box dangling over the Thames," referring to a recent stunt by illusionist David Blaine. "A few might be happy to provide similar arrangements," Bush said, referring to the protesters.
Prior to the speech, Bush and first lady Laura Bush attended a welcome ceremony at Buckingham Palace hosted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Bush delivered his address to British academics at Whitehall Palace, and praised the so-called special relationship between Washington and London. "More than alliance of security and commerce, the British and American peoples have an alliance of values," Bush said. "Today, this old and tested alliance is very strong."
He said that after Saddam's fall, there has been "substantial progress" toward Iraq, faster than recoveries in Germany and Japan after World War II and "changes we can hardly imagine a year ago," citing economic and political gains.
"A new Iraqi police force protects the people, instead of bullying them," Bush said. "More than 150 Iraqi newspapers are now in circulation, printing what they choose, not what they're ordered. Schools are open, with textbooks free of propaganda.
"Hospitals are functioning and are well-supplied. Iraq has a new currency, the first battalion of a new army, representative local governments, and a governing council with an aggressive timetable for national sovereignty."
And, while noting "principled objections to the use of force," the president said force has been necessary in fighting Saddam's regime.
"The people have given us the duty to fend them and that duty sometimes requires the violent restraint of violent men," Bush said. "In some cases, the measured use of force is all that protects us from a chaotic world ruled by force."
The Iraqi people, Bush said, "will not surrender their freedom."
"Inhabitants of Iraq's Baathist hell, with his lavish palaces and his torture chambers, with his massive statues and its mass graves, do not miss their fugitive dictator," he said. "They rejoiced at his fall."
Acknowledging violence against Iraqis and U.S.-led forces in Iraq is serious, Bush said "it comes from Baathist holdouts and jihadists from other countries and terrorists drawn to the prospect of innocent bloodshed. It is the nature of terrorism and the cruelty of a few to try to bring grief and the loss to many."
Bush said the insurgents "view the rise of democracy in Iraq as a powerful threat to their ambitions. In this, they are correct. They believe their acts against our coalition, against international aid workers and against innocent Iraqis will make us recoil and retreat. In this they are mistaken."
The president also touched on the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, outlining his vision of a democratic Palestinian state, safety for Israelis under threat of terrorist attacks by Palestinian militants, and his desire for peaceful co-existence for both peoples.
"We seek a viable, independent state for the Palestinian people, who have been betrayed by others for too long," Bush said. "We seek security and recognition for the state of Israel, which has lived in the shadow of random death for too long."