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Iraq War Debate Heats Up After Bush Speech


Across America and Iraq, many who saw President Bush's speech Tuesday night concerning the U.S. role in Iraq wanted to respond to his latest comments about the war. Brian Purchia narrates.

Many Americans had strong reactions to the President's comments - particularly his assertion that a peaceful and secure Iraq is worth the price of American lives.

An unscientific sampling of comments in New York included these:

WOMAN
"Basically, it's the same as it was before. Things haven't changed. The troops do need to come home as soon as possible."

MAN
"I thought he articulated well what we need to do, that we need to stay there until the job is finished."

WOMAN
"I missed it because the man has nothing new to tell me about what he's doing over there. The tactics are murderous, the strategy has failed."

On the streets of Baghdad, Iraqi lawmakers expressed opposing views about the presence of U.S. troops.

Dr. Juwad Simisim is a Sunni lawmaker. "President Bush does not have legal nor political authority to outline the presence of US troops in Iraq or enforce a timetable for the troops."

Dr. Simisim said the length of stay of U.S. troops is "an Iraqi concern" that should be addressed by the nation's new National Assembly.

Abbas Bayati, a Shi'ite, said Iraqis want to see U.S. troops depart once the Iraqi Army is established. But he said the multinational force is still very much needed, until all Iraqi security personnel are fully trained.

U.S. Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, a member of the opposition Democratic Party, said Mr. Bush must involve more countries in the battle against the insurgency, especially in tightening security along Iraq's borders. He wants the European Union, G8 nations, and NATO to serve as a "board of directors," to guide the Iraqi government and military. "And most importantly, NATO has drawn up a plan of how they would seal the border with Iraq. We should be pressing them for a political decision to send 3,800 to 5,000 troops there to seal that border," he said.

U.S. Senator John McCain, a Republican Party member from Arizona, said the U.S. made mistakes in its initial training of Iraqi security forces. However, he said Iraqi troops have gained valuable experience during the past year. "The most important item is the reduction of U.S. casualties. How do you do that? Have the Iraqis take those responsibilities. Our hopes rest on their capabilities. And I believe we are making significant progress there," he said.

Senator McCain said those Iraqi troops have made strong contributions to recent joint Iraqi-U.S. operations, targeting insurgents in western Iraq.

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