President Bush on Wednesday (Thursday, Middle East time) told Congress, in his State of the Union address, that he would confront regimes that promote terror and pursue weapons of mass destruction, and singled out Syria and Iran. Returning to his inaugural address' theme of spreading democracy, Bush hailed the success of Sunday's elections in Iraq.
"And the victory of freedom in Iraq will strengthen a new ally in the war on terror, inspire democracy reformers from Damascus to Tehran, bring more hope and progress to a troubled region," he said. In a challenge to Iran's government, he told the country's citizens: "As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you."
Bush also promised to push forward the Mideast peace process, including $350 million in aid to the Palestinians.
"The goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace, is within reach, and America will help them achieve that goal," the president said. "The beginnings of reform and democracy in the Palestinian territories are showing the power of freedom to break old patterns of violence and failure," the US leader said.
With more than 1,400 Americans killed in Iraq and the United States spending more than $1 billion a week on the war, Bush urged Congress to support his request for an additional $80 billion. "During this time of war, we must continue to support our military and give them the tools for victory," he said.