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Bush: Leaving Iraq Would Be Disaster

U.S. President George Bush says pulling U.S. troops out of Baghdad would only lead to more violence. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Mr. Bush is rejecting congressional resolutions opposing his sending more troops to Iraq.

President Bush says legislators who do not believe America can succeed in Iraq and want U.S. troops there to leave are pursuing what he calls "a disastrous course."

"One option that some in the Congress [think makes] sense is to withdraw from Baghdad, in other words just let them fight it out," said Mr. Bush. "And some just say we shouldn't be there at all. Either one of those cases, in my judgment, would create chaos, violence, and would make it much more difficult for us to have an ally in this war on terror and much easier for the enemy to promote their hatred."

In an interview with C-SPAN television, President Bush continued his push to convince Americans that his new strategy for Iraq, including sending more than 20,000 additional troops, is the best way forward.

Some members of the president's Republican Party are joining congressional Democrats in opposing that plan. White House officials say those efforts could adversely affect the morale of U.S. troops and encourage those they are fighting.

A public opinion survey released by CBS News Tuesday said more than two-thirds of Americans disapprove the way President Bush is handling the war. Roughly 72 percent of Americans believe U.S. efforts to bring stability to Iraq are going somewhat or very badly.

As he has from the start of the war nearly four years ago, Mr. Bush says the fight is central to American security.

"If we fail, then it is more likely somebody will come here and kill additional Americans," he added. "In other words, failure in Iraq emboldens an enemy which has caused us harm in the past and wants to do so again."

President Bush says the war in Iraq will continue beyond his time in office. But when America's next leader takes power in January of 2009, Mr. Bush says there should be some clear improvements.

"There will be violence," he said. "There will be criminality, but they will also see a country in which the security forces are better equipped and better adapted at dealing with the extremists."

Mr. Bush said America's next president will see an Iraqi society heading toward more unity and a political process working toward reconciliation.