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January 17, 2018

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Bush, in Las Vegas, defends troop surge (updated)

President Bush, speaking in Las Vegas this morning, defended the U.S. troop surge in Iraq, saying that the military has succeeded in routing the enemy neighborhood by neighborhood.

The progress has improved the lives of Iraqis and given the government time to add 100,000 new soldiers, he told the National Policy Research Institute this morning.

Bush is now en route to a private fund-raiser at the home of Sheldon Adelson, a political conservative and chairman of the Sands Corp. Adelson and his wife greeted Bush at a loading dock of the Venetian hotel-casino and rode with him to the speech.

More from the speech:

Bush repeated his long-standing argument that Americans are watching a democracy evolving and that Iraqis are becoming more self-confident in their government. Freedom is taking root in the Middle East, sending a strong message to Iran, he said.

Failure to continue U.S. military presence in Iraq would cause people to doubt the nation's commitment and embolden extremists, he said.

Bush also reprised some themes of his State of the Union address on Monday, including his opposition to earmarks that do not have full congressional approval.

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