President Bush told soldiers Thursday that his strategy of sending more U.S. troops to Iraq would not yield immediate results in clamping down on sectarian violence.
One day after proposing to increase U.S. forces by 21,500, mostly to help secure Baghdad, Bush appealed for patience.
"The new strategy is not going to yield immediate results. it's going to take a while," Bush said at Fort Benning, an Army base in Georgia from which about 4,000 more soldiers will soon deploy to Iraq.
He said U.S. commanders believed there was a good chance to defeat the insurgency in Anbar province. The 4,000 extra U.S. troops in Anbar, and the added forces in Baghdad, would help, he said.
"The purpose really is to crush these insurrections now so that the democracy in Iraq can develop, has a chance to make it," Bush said.
He also called on the Mehdi Army, a militia loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, to disarm. Washington has identified the militia as a threat to security in Iraq and has been pressing Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite, to take it on.