On a visit to Budapest to mark 50 years since an uprising against Soviet rule, Bush said Hungary represented "the triumph of liberty over tyranny". Iraqis, he said, would take inspiration and "draw hope" from Hungary's success. Hungary 1956 revolt was crushed by the Soviet army. Budapest finally broke free of Moscow's influence when the Soviet bloc crumbled 17 years ago. Hungary is now a member of Nato and the European Union.
"The lesson of the Hungarian experience is clear - liberty can be delayed but it cannot be denied," Bush told an audience at a ceremony on a hill overlooking Budapest from which Soviet tanks had fired into the city. The Soviet Union had "crushed the Hungarian uprising but not the Hungarian people's thirst for freedom", he said. he praised the new Iraqi PM, Nouri Maliki, saying Hungarians would recognise his spirit. But Iraq's democracy was still under threat from "determined enemies". "Defeating these enemies will require sacrifices and continued patience, the kind of patience the good people of Hungary displayed after 1956," he said. His speech acknowledged the high cost Hungary paid in its struggle for independence and thanked it for "leadership in freedom's cause". He also promoted a vision of democratic regimes triumphing with US backing. Bush said Americans had learned from the experience of people who had stood up to oppression.