News

Bush Backs Iraqi Leader in Speech to US Veterans

U.S. President George Bush says he supports Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The president's statement came in a speech Wednesday that followed calls by a U.S. senator for replacing the government in Baghdad. VOA White House correspondent Scott Stearns reports, the president is hoping to restore public support for the war in Iraq by comparing that fight to past American intervention in East Asia.

President Bush says many people are frustrated by the slow pace of political progress in Iraq, and he understands that.

But he is rejecting criticism from the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, who says Iraq's parliament should remove the Maliki government because it has "totally and utterly failed."

"Prime Minister Maliki is a good guy, a good man, with a difficult job. And I support him. And it is not up to the politicians in Washington, D.C. to say whether he will remain in his position. That is up to the Iraqi people who now live in a democracy and not a dictatorship," said Mr. Bush.

Following a visit to Iraq this week, Senator Levin said the Maliki government cannot achieve a political settlement because it is too bound by its own sectarian prejudices.

Speaking Wednesday, at the close of a three-day visit to Syria, Prime Minister Maliki told reporters that no one has the authority to impose a timetable on the Iraqi government as its power emanates from the Iraqi people and only they can decide its fate. He accused U.S. politicians of making irresponsible statements and criticisms that he said lacked courtesy.

President Bush had given a less-than-ringing endorsement of the prime minister Tuesday, saying that if the Iraqi government does not respond to the demands of the people, they will replace it. White House officials say the president was just "reporting the facts" and sought to clarify those remarks in his speech Wednesday.

In his latest comments, Mr. Bush compared Iraq to previous U.S. battles in Asia, saying the ideals that led America to help establish democracy in post-World War II Japan are the same ones that keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The president also compaired critics of his Iraq policy with skeptics of U.S. intervention on the Korean peninsula, saying that back then, as now, some argued that the war was futile and troops should come home.

"The defense strategy that refused to hand the South Koreans over to a totalitarian neighbor helped raise up an Asian Tiger that is a model for developing countries across the world, including the Middle East," he said. "And the fruit of American sacrifice and perseverance in Asia is a freer, more prosperous, and stable continent - whose people want to live in peace with America - not attack America."

Opposition Democrats say the president is wrong to compare Iraq with past conflicts in Asia because he is ignoring fundamental differences.

In a written statement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Bush administration misled the American people into the war under the false pretense of weapons of mass destruction, leading to what Reid calls "one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our history."

The president says there are certainly differences between the last century's fighting in East Asia and the current battle against terrorism. But he says at their core, they are all struggles of ideology.

"The militarists of Japan and the Communists in Korea and Vietnam were driven by a merciless vision for the proper ordering of humanity," said Mr. Bush. "They killed Americans because we stood in the way of their attempt to force their ideology on others. Today, the names and places have changed, but the fundamental character of the struggle has not changed."

The president is hoping to rebuild public support for the war ahead of a report to Congress next month. The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, will report on the impact of the president's January decision to send more troops to Iraq.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs