Accessibility links

Breaking News

Bush Rejects Deadline for Iraq Withdrawal

President Bush is continuing his attack on opposition Democrats calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Mr. Bush will speak to American troops at a U.S. air base in South Korea following the close of a regional economic summit.

President Bush will use his speech at the Osan Air Base to continue his assault on Democratic critics calling for U.S. troops in Iraq to come home.

According to exerpts of that speech released in advance, President Bush will say there are some in Washington who say the sacrifice in Iraq is too great and it is time to set a date for the withdrawal of those troops before the mission is complete.

Mr. Bush will say those who are in the fight know better, quoting Major General William Webster as saying that a deadline for that withdrawal would be a recipe for disaster.

As long as he is Commander-in-Chief, President Bush will say U.S. troops will stay in the fight until they have won the victory that they have fought and bled for.

More than 2,000 Americans have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

Some Democrats say it is time to bring those troops home. A top Democrat on defense issues who has previously been one of the president's biggest opposition supporters on Iraq joined that call this week. Congressman John Murtha said America's military has accomplished its mission in Iraq and its duty is done.

Mr. Murtha said U.S. troops have become a catalyst for violence as the primary targets of insurgents in Iraq who are now united against American forces. The war is not going as advertised, he said, calling it a flawed policy wrapped in illusion.

President Bush will not mention Congressman Murtha by name, but his aides have launched a blistering rebuke of the Korean and Vietnam War veteran.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said it is baffling that the Pennsylvania lawmaker is now endorsing the policies of the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party, saying a troop withdrawal would be surrendering to terrorists on the even of historic democratic elections.

The White House is engaged in a broad campaign to fend off calls for an early withdrawal and criticism of the president's use of intelligence in the run-up to the war. Vice President Dick Cheney says Democrats are being dishonest and reprehensible in alleging that the president purposefully mislead the nation to war.

Responding to the vice president, whose student deferments kept him from fighting in Vietnam, Congressman Murtha said sarcastically that he likes guys who have never been there criticizing those who have and then not liking to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.