George Bush President Bush says economic progress in Iraq is giving its people hope for a better future.
The president defended his Iraq policy in a speech Wednesday in Washington, focusing on efforts to revive Iraq's economy and rebuild its shattered infrastructure.
Mr. Bush acknowledged that reconstruction has not always gone as well as hoped, primarily because of security challenges. He said "rebuilding a nation devastated by a dictator is a large undertaking."
He cited progress in the cities of Najaf and Mosul, saying residents there are seeing tangible progress in their lives.
Wednesday's speech is the second in a series of addresses intended to answer criticism of U.S. operations in Iraq two-and-a-half years after the invasion.
Mr. Bush's approval ratings have dropped to the lowest of his presidency, in part because of the continued fighting in Iraq.