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Kerry Criticizes Bush on Iraq in Swing Through US Battleground States - 2004-09-06

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry says he would try to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq within four years if he is elected in November.

During a campaign rally outside Pittsburgh, Senator Kerry said he does not have long-term designs to maintain bases or troops in Iraq and said his goal, if elected, would be to pull all U.S. forces out of Irag in his first term.

"And it is American troops that are 90 percent of the combat casualties and it is American taxpayers that are paying 90 percent of the cost of this war," he said. "It is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Senator Kerry supported the congressional resolution authorizing the president to use force in Iraq before the war began. But the Massachusetts Democrat told supporters that the president rushed to war without a plan to win the peace and that he would take a different approach to Iraq if elected.

"I will bring other countries to our side, do a better job of fighting a more effective, smarter war on terror that will actually make Americans safer in the world and that is what we need to do," he said.

Senator Kerry's comments on Iraq come as some of his Democratic supporters are urging him to more sharply define his differences with the president over both domestic and foreign policy issues.