Second Anniversary Gifts: Always Tricky...

Q How is the President going to mark the second anniversary of our war against Iraq and the start of the third year?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there's still a few days off until the date that we began the liberation of Iraq, and --

Q The invasion of Iraq.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the Iraqi people showed that they appreciate the sacrifices of the coalition forces, of Iraqi forces, and our men and women in uniform of the U.S. military, who helped --

Q Well, we're still there and we're still fighting, aren't we?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- to provide them with the opportunity to determine their own future, and to move away from their past of oppression and terrorism. And, obviously, we will --

Q How is the President going to mark the anniversary?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we will have more to say as we move closer to that, to express our eternal gratitude to the men and women of our Armed Forces who have served and sacrificed in the defense of freedom, and who have helped to liberate some 25 million people in Iraq. We are --

Q That isn't why you went in.

MR. McCLELLAN: We are forever grateful to our men and women in uniform. And the Iraqi people have expressed their gratitude, as well, and showed that they are committed to defying the terrorists who want to return to the past by going to the polls and voting for a future based on freedom and democracy. And the National Assembly that was elected by the Iraqi people, the transitional National Assembly, will be meeting for the first time tomorrow. It's an important step on the path to democracy. And we stand with the international community in doing everything we can to support the transition to democracy in Iraq. We stand with the Iraqi people, and we are greatly appreciative of our men and women in uniform who continue to serve and sacrifice for this important cause. We are also grateful to their families who have made sacrifices, as well.

Q How many people are dead?

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, April.

Press Briefing [White House]


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