President Bush warned Iraqis on Saturday that as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power "Iraq will remain a pariah nation" and desperate conditions will continue to plague their country.
And, with his immense popularity slipping in the polls and criticism continuing of U.S. efforts to aid the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Iraq, Bush used a speech before the War College at Maxwell Air Force Base to again answer those who accused him of abandoning the rebels after urging them to rise up against Saddam."Internal conflicts have been raging in Iraq for many years. And we're helping out and we're going to continue to help these refugees," Bush said.
But with his voice rising and taking a swipe at the podium, the president adamantly restated his pledge to keep American troops out of the internal conflict in Iraq.
"I do not want one single soldier or airman shoved into a civil war in Iraq that's been going on for ages, and I'm not going to have that," he declared.
The spirited defense of U.S. policy, now under attack in some quarters for the belated response to the plight of up to a million Iraqis displaced by the civil war, was mixed into a speech in which he sketched his concept of a "new world order" with the close of the Cold War.
Standing in front of a huge American flag, Bush said such a realignment passed its "first real test" in the Persian Gulf war and that now it is up to the world to build on the process.