Gibbons defends Bush, Says War Worth The Cost

Congressman Jim Gibbons, R-Nevada
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Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., is coming to President Bush's defense as recent polls show the war in Iraq is eroding public support for Bush.

Gibbons said images of Iraqi prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers and the gruesome deaths of American civilians at the hand of Iraqi militants are taking a toll on Bush's poll numbers.

"That's to be expected when you have these types of incidents," Gibbons said in a telephone interview Saturday from Hawthorne, where he toured the Army Depot and took part in an Armed Forces Day parade.

"I fully anticipate President Bush will recover from this, and make the right judgments and decisions, and will win re-election," he said.

Even though polls show that more Americans are becoming disillusioned by the war, Gibbons said he thinks the effort is worth the costs. His mail and phone calls from constituents continue to run strongly in favor of the war, he said.

"The people I talk to want us to stay strong and resolute, and stay focused that we freed the Iraqi citizens and there's an exit strategy plan to turn over the government and security to Iraqis," Gibbons told The Associated Press.

"We have all the pieces in play to bring Iraq to a rapid resolution ... These are not simple or easy things to do. I believe we've set the right course," he said.

Gibbons, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he has heard from only a "very small number" of constituents in favor of withdrawing American troops from Iraq.

A U.S. pullout at this point would put the world's security at risk and be a major victory for terrorists, he said.

"We went there to liberate the people of Iraq and if we leave now, which is what the terrorists want, they know Iraq will disintegrate into anarchy and will be a breeding ground for terrorists around the world," Gibbons said.

"I have absolutely no doubt that we did the right thing in Iraq. If we weren't fighting this war there, we'd be fighting it next week in this country."

In a speech Saturday, Gibbons praised the Hawthorne Army Depot and efforts to prevent its closure. A statewide group is working to keep the world's largest ammunition plant open.

"The Hawthorne Army Depot stands as an important facet of our military complex in Nevada and nationwide," said Gibbons, the only member of Congress to serve in both the Vietnam and Gulf wars.