"It's hard helping a country from tyranny to elections to peace when there are a handful of people willing to kill," he told a crowd in King of Prussia.
But military officials say that "handful" could amount to as many as 20,000 people.
"It seems to me in the 20-to-30,000 range with more recruits coming into the system every day is a more reasonable estimation," said William Nash, a retired major general and now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
But Bush also misstates facts in making his case. Now that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, he has cited other examples to vilify Saddam Hussein.
"If people say where are [Saddam's] ties to terror, remind them about Abu Nidal, the killer of Leon Klinghoffer," Bush said during the King of Prussia rally.
That is not true. Klinghoffer, an elderly, wheelchair-bound American, was killed during the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. The hijacking was led by Abu Abbas of the Palestine Liberation Front, not Abu Nidal, though Bush has made this claim at least 17 times. Both men were considered terrorists and were given safe harbor by Saddam.
The war in Iraq will continue well past Election Day. No doubt, misrepresentations about them will continue as well.