President Bush wants Congress to give American troops more money for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, opposition Democrats want additional funding linked to a plan to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.
President Bush met privately with uniformed military chiefs at the Pentagon to discuss the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the broader fight against terrorism.
Speaking to reporters following those talks, Mr. Bush said the work of the U.S. military in preventing terrorist attacks is too important to be disrupted or delayed by politics.
"The American people expect us to work together to support our troops," said President Bush. "That is what they want. They do not want the government to create needless uncertainty for those defending our country and uncertainty for their families. They do not want disputes in Washington to undermine our troops in Iraq, just as they are seeing clear signs of success."
Before leaving for their Thanksgiving break nearly two weeks ago, opposition Democrats in the Senate sought to link $50 billion in additional war funding with the goal of getting American combat troops out of Iraq by the end of next year.
That measure was defeated by Senate Republicans who proposed $70 billion for the war without any conditions. Democrats blocked that measure. No additional funding was approved.
President Bush says leaders in Washington have the responsibility to send the right message to the rest of the world.
"Let us tell our enemies that America will do what it takes to defeat them," said Mr. Bush. "Let us tell Afghans and Iraqis that we will stand with them as they take the fight to our common enemies. Let us tell our men and women in uniform that we will give them what they need to succeed in their missions without strings and without delay.
Mr. Bush says the U.S. military will be forced to scale back some operations if those funds are not approved before the end of the year.
White House officials say the president's meeting at the Pentagon also included discussion of the future size of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps as well as recruitment and retention.