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Bush asks for more time
Question of the Day
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said the White House report “confirms what many had suspected — the war in Iraq is headed in a dangerous direction.”
“The Iraqi government has not met the key political benchmarks it has set for itself, and Iraqi security forces continue to lag well behind expectations. Our courageous troops continue to bear the burden for securing and rebuilding Iraq, while Iraq’s factions fight a deadly civil war,” Mr. Reid said.
Congressional Democratic leaders returned from a weeklong recess Monday and announced that they would renew efforts to pass legislation mandating a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the spring. Even though some Democrats have said that Republicans will not consider voting for a withdrawal until the fall, several prominent Republican senators have begun to break with the president over his Iraq policy.
The White House this week has waged a lobbying effort with key Republicans, asking them to wait until September — when Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, is scheduled to give an update — before they judge the success of the surge.
But Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, said it is “wrong to keep pouring more and more lives into the endless black hole of a failed policy. It’s time to say ‘enough’ and bring our troops home.”
Mr. Bush, however, said that Congress should not be “running the war” and asked Congress “to give the general a chance to come back and to give us a full assessment of whether this is succeeding or not.”
A bevy of Republican lawmakers spoke out in support of waiting for Gen. Petraeus’ September report.
“The Maliki government is not doing what they need to do. We have made mistakes, but the worst mistake … would be to change strategy at a time when it is beginning to show dividends,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican.
The president, speaking in the newly renovated press briefing room one day after it was reopened, closed with a personal admission.
“I guess I’m like any other, you know, political figure. Everybody wants to be loved. Just sometimes the decisions you make and the consequences don’t enable you to be loved,” Mr. Bush said. “And so when it’s all said and done … I will be able to I say I looked in the mirror and made decisions based upon principle, not based upon politics. And that’s important to me.”
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