George W. Bush photo

Remarks Following a Visit With Wounded Troops and Their Families at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii

September 08, 2007

The President. I appreciate the Governor of this beautiful State, Admiral Keating, his wife, for their hospitality. The Secretary and I have just landed. We've come from Australia; we're on our way to DC. And I decided that it was best to stop and say hello to some of our wounded soldiers and sailors and marines.

Every time I have an opportunity to meet people who have sacrificed on behalf of the security of the country, I'm amazed at their spirit and their resolve. One of the things I look for is to make sure that these troops and their families are getting the best possible treatment. If they've got any complaints, I'm available for them to air them out.

And what I heard was encouraging; that people feel like they're getting the best possible care. And that makes me feel good. I told them, when I was in the room, that I came back from Iraq encouraged by what I saw. No question, there's still hard work to do, but my resolve is as strong as it's ever been. I believe we're doing the right thing there for the security of the country and for the peace of the world.

General David Petraeus will be reporting to the Congress, along with Ambassador Crocker, on Monday and Tuesday. I will then talk about a way forward after their report. I ask the Members of Congress just to sit back and listen to what we all have to say before they reach the conclusions that they're going to reach. But one thing is for certain: Now is the time to do the hard work in order to make sure that we can have a peaceful world, now is the time to deny the radicals and extremists a safe haven, and now is the time to advance democracy in the heart of the Middle East. I believe that's the calling of our time, and I believe we'll succeed. And I know it's necessary we do.

Anyway, thank you all for your hospitality.

Admiral Timothy J. Keating. Yes, sir.

The President. Admiral said he cooked some lunch for us today. I'm looking forward to having it.

Adm. Keating. Caught the fish and then cooked the lunch.

The President. Governor, proud to be with you.

Governor Linda Lingle of Hawaii. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. Thank you very much.

The First Lady

Q. Did you change any minds, Mr. President, with your trip?

Q. How is Mrs. Bush?

The President. She's doing great, thank you. I talked to Laura, talked to her twice. I talked to her right before she went in for the surgery, in Australia, and then talked to her twice on the airplane. Her spirits are good. They feel like the surgery was a success. She's now back at the White House. I told her I'm looking forward to having breakfast with her. I told her I'd be home soon. And I'm just grateful that the doctors did a good job, and I thank God for the fact that it came out well.

Q. Is she going to be released by the time you get home, sir?

The President. Yes, she's at the White House now.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:16 p.m. at the Tradewinds Enlisted Club. In his remarks, he referred to Adm. Timothy J. Keating, USN, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, and his wife Wanda Lee; and Gen. David H. Petraeus, USA, commanding general, Multi-National Force—Iraq. A portion of these remarks could not be verified because the tape was incomplete.

George W. Bush, Remarks Following a Visit With Wounded Troops and Their Families at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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