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Bush Tells Troops Congress Must Fund Iraq War


President Bush took the battle over funding for the Iraq war to a U.S. military base on Wednesday. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from the White House, the president spent the day with troops at Fort Irwin, California.

The president stood before a room packed with soldiers and their families. He told them Congress must fund the war now without conditions.

"We cannot allow honest differences in Washington to harm our troops in battle or their families here at home," said President Bush.

The House of Representatives has linked emergency funding for the war to a pull-out of U.S. forces by the end of August 2008. The Senate version of the bill speaks of a withdrawal within one year as a goal.

The president has made clear both are unacceptable. And in his remarks at Fort Irwin, he stressed Congress must not tell the generals how to do their job.

"Their bills impose an artificial deadline for withdrawal for Iraq," he said. "Their bills substitute the judgment of Washington politicians for the judgment of our military commanders."

Fort Irwin is home to the army's top desert training center for combat units. It specializes in the specific skills needed to counter terrorists and insurgents, such as detecting homemade explosives.

Mr. Bush spent several hours at the facility, watching training demonstrations, and meeting with troops. It was the first stop on a six-day break from Washington that will include Easter observances in Texas, and a trip to Arizona to talk about immigration on Monday.

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