ANCHORAGE — Vice President Dick Cheney called on Americans on Friday to maintain support for the U.S. military effort in Iraq despite the upsurge in fighting there, and said the security of the United States "is directly dependent on our success."
Cheney told an audience of cheering military personnel at Elmendorf Air Force Base near here that the U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan are aimed at ensuring that the two countries cannot become "sanctuaries for terrorists."
"Our own security, and that of our friends in the region, is directly dependent on our success," Cheney said.
"Our will is being tested in Iraq, as we have seen in the heavy fighting this week," he said. "Yet as Americans, we understand what is at stake. It is absolutely essential in both Afghanistan and Iraq to finish the task at hand. That means helping the people of both nations to establish representative governments and the forces necessary to guarantee their security -- so that they can enjoy the blessings of liberty and their countries never again become sanctuaries for terrorists."
Cheney spoke after a week in which U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq found themselves fighting on two fronts, against Sunni and Shiite Muslim insurgencies. President Bush, who is spending the week at his ranch near Crawford, Texas, did not speak publicly about Iraq on Friday.