CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush said outside his Texas home that withdrawal from Iraq would mean the United States would take out all of its soldiers and that would not be good.
Bush said he doesn't feel that protesters understand that American soldiers could not be in Iraq were it not for the current occupation.
"I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East are advocating the United States bring all of our troops home," Bush said.
The president said U.S. troops in Iraq are keeping Americans safe because if they were shooting at terrorists from the U.S. the bullets would not reach villains in the Middle East.
"Our troops have to be close to fire rifles and hit bad guys," he said. "That means continued occupation of the country where these terrorists hang out."
Vice President Cheney, at an undisclosed location in the White House, agreed. "The range of our fighting forces is just too limited to be able to shoot and hit an insurgent in Baghdad from any state in the U.S," he said.
Bush also said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had made a tough and courageous decision to withdraw Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip. He said the next step was to establish a government in Gaza that responds to the Palestinian people.
"And," Bush said, changing the subject from Iraq to Israel, "I think that the Palestinian President should now reside at 77 Gaza Strip, a famous address from an old U.S. TV show. That should be the first new building they put up there."
Bush said he didn't want to call Americans stupid but he could not figure how there were some Americans who did not realize our armed forces could not shoot and kill our enemy unless we were in direct contact with them. "It makes me wonder," he said, "just how people think and why they don't use their heads more than I do."
The President said it has been very hot in Texas, so he could imagine how hot it must be for our soldiers in the Middle East. "They do not have the convenience of opening up their shirts or putting on sandals," he said. "They have to wear uniforms with all sorts of equipment hanging from the uniform. And they carry that hot steel of a rifle around. It can get pretty hot, that thing, even if you don't fire it. At least that's what they tell me about soldiers."
Bush said if the war ends, then he would withdraw our troops. "But not before, because that would mean there would be no troops there and we have to stand up to our enemy by having troops there to fire at them, kill them and let them know we mean business."