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Number of Troops in Iraq Will Match Security Needs, says Bush - 2003-11-20

President Bush says he is not sure how many coalition troops will remain in Iraq as that country returns to self rule, saying the total could go up or down. He spoke after talks in London with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

During a joint news conference, the president was asked if an accelerated timetable for Iraqi self-rule is linked to a draw down of coalition troops.

"What I have said is that we will match the security needs with the number of troops necessary to secure Iraq," he said.

The president said military commanders will determine appropriate troop levels.

"We could have less troops in Iraq, we could have the same number of troops in Iraq, we could have more troops in Iraq, whatever is necessary to secure Iraq," said president Bush.

Prime Minister Blair said coalition forces will stay until the job is done, adding Iraq remains the major battleground in the war on terrorism.