Bush rejects Iraq exit plan

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

Mr Bush was speaking in a prime-time televised speech from Fort Bragg army base in North Carolina aimed at rallying waning public support for his administration’s Iraq policy.

US lawmakers, including a handful of Bush’s Republicans, have called on the president to lay out a timetable for withdrawing roughly 135,000 US troops from Iraq.

He urged a deeply divided American public to back his strategy for the war, but warned of tough times.

“I recognise that Americans want our troops to come home as quickly as possible. So do I. Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing US forces. Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake,” he said.

“Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done,” the president said.

“And it would send the wrong message to the enemy who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out.”

He also said that sending more American troops would undermine the US strategy of encouraging Iraqis to fight the insurgents.

In his rallying speech the president mentioned September 11, Osama bin Laden and the most-wanted man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

“The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11 – if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden.”

Aiming to convince sceptical Americans, Mr Bush said his “clear path forward” to victory needed only time – not any changes – to be successful.

He said he knew Americans were questioning the heavy sacrifices, more than 1,700 Americans dead, but said the fight was worth it.

Buffeted by polls showing that fewer Americans think he’s doing a good job, Mr Bush said he understands their doubts.

His address comes amid criticism of his administration’s upbeat forecasts for Iraq and one year after Iraqis took over sovereignty of their war-torn country.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 56 percent of Americans disapproved of Mr Bush’s handling of Iraq.

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