Vice President Dick Cheney says a premature withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq would be a victory for the terrorists and a blow to American national security.
In a speech in Washington Monday, Mr. Cheney responded to critics, including Democratic Congressman John Murtha, who say the U.S. military's presence in Iraq has increased terrorism and instability in the Middle East.
Congressman Murtha's call last week for U.S. troops to get out of Iraq sparked intense debate and drew stinging criticism from Republican legislators and White House officials.
Mr. Cheney Monday called Mr. Murtha "a good man and a patriot." But the vice president stood by his remarks that it is "dishonest and reprehensible" for some U.S. senators to say President Bush purposely misled the American people into the Iraq war.