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Bush sees no pullout before '09


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Guest markotsay7

At a time of mounting public uncertainty about Iraq, President George W. Bush insisted at a news conference Tuesday that the violence there had not evolved into a civil war, but he acknowledged that the war would not end during his tenure and that a decision on complete American troop withdrawal would fall to "future presidents."

 

He also expressed full confidence in his top advisers, despite calls even from senior Republicans for an injection of fresh blood to help deal with surprises in Bush's second term that have undermined his standing in opinion polls and sapped his political capital. But the president did not rule out changes in the White House.

 

Bush has repeatedly refused to set any timetable for a complete pullout, saying that to do so would encourage insurgents. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - whose work Bush defended Tuesday - has said that wars on insurgencies often last a dozen years or more.

 

Still, by saying at a news conference that the final withdrawal would ultimately fall to a successor, Bush placed it no sooner than 2009, when the next president takes office.

 

Asked about prospects for a full withdrawal, Bush replied, "That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future presidents, and future governments of Iraq."

 

As the war in Iraq enters its fourth year, a welling of sectarian violence has raised fears of a civil war. On Sunday, a former Iraqi prime minister, Ayad Allawi, said: "If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is."

 

Asked whether he agreed, Bush immediately replied, "I do not." He predicted that "there's going to be more tough fighting ahead," but insisted that coalition and Iraqi forces were making progress. "Our job is to make sure the civil war doesn't happen," he said.

 

Violence continued Tuesday in Iraq, as hundreds of insurgents attacked a police station in Muqdadiya, northeast of Baghdad. The firefight left 18 police officers dead. (Page 7)

 

A reporter asked how Bush would respond to that attack, and to a onetime supporter in Ohio who had said of the president: "He's losing me. He's been there too long. He's losing me."

 

Bush said that he was "talking realistically to people." He added, "If I didn't believe we could succeed, I wouldn't be there. I wouldn't put those kids there."

 

But the president said that if troops were withdrawn prematurely, "Iraq would become a place of instability, a place from which the enemy can plot, plan and attack."

 

While the recent outbreak of sectarian violence was disturbing, he said, he drew comfort from the way Iraqi leaders and ordinary citizens had responded.

 

"The Iraqis took a look and decided not to go to civil war," Bush said. "The Iraqis had a chance to fall apart, and they didn't."

 

Still, he said, the violence underscored the urgency for Iraqis of forming a unity government "as soon as possible."

 

Should the coalition leave and Iraqi democracy fail, he said, "Al Qaeda would be emboldened. Terrorist groups would be emboldened. The Islamofascists would be emboldened."

 

Bush, who fielded more than 20 questions in his second news conference of the year, appeared intent on again conveying a firm but careful confidence about Iraq, as he sought to do in two recent speeches, including one in Cleveland on Monday.

 

He seemed generally relaxed, frequently joking with reporters; the give- and-take with citizen questioners Monday had seemed to enliven him.

 

Bush even took one question Tuesday - apparently his first in years - from the veteran reporter Helen Thomas, of Hearst Newspapers, who often bombards the White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, with questions sharply critical of the war.

 

"Why did you really want to go to war from the moment you stepped into the White House?" she asked.

 

Bush replied that no president wanted war, but that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks had changed all calculations.

 

Still, his attempts to stem the downward course of public feeling on Iraq appear problematic. The more somber tone he has adopted regarding the war appears designed partly to address concerns that he had remained too upbeat for too long, as scenes of violence filled American television screens, seemingly belying his words.

 

But questions of credibility and competence cropped up repeatedly Tuesday.

 

Asked about polls showing rising doubts about White House trustworthiness - a recent Pew Center poll found that "incompetent" had replaced "honest" as the word Americans most associated with Bush - he said that his job was to share his thinking with Americans, "and what's on my mind is winning the war on terror."

 

One reporter asked about suggestions that Bush's senior staff had grown "tired and even tone-deaf," and perhaps needed help from an experienced senior adviser.

 

Bush said that his team had faced many challenges and that "they've got my confidence." But he did not flatly reject speculation that he might make changes. Asked again, "No new guy?" he replied, "I'm not going to announce it right now."

 

When a reporter asked Bush about the proposal from a liberal Wisconsin Democrat, Senator Russell Feingold, to censure the president over his authorization of surveillance without warrants, he appeared annoyed.

 

"Needless partisanship" would not advance healthy debate, Bush replied. Democrats had mostly backed away from Feingold's proposal, and there were few calls to end all surveillance.

 

If Democrats thought it was wrong, Bush said, "they ought to stand up and say the tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used."

 

He said, in reply to a question, that Rumsfeld should not resign; Rumsfeld was doing "a fine job."

 

On other topics, Bush was asked about the agreement to open negotiations with Iran over its relations with Iraq. He said this was merely a channel to make it clear to Tehran that it was expected not to meddle in Iraq. Any negotiations over Iran's nuclear activities would remain the responsibility of Britain, France and Germany.

 

Bush said he was not satisfied with the rising national debt, but said that part of that reflected mandatory spending bills, as for the Medicare program, and part of it exceptional spending, such as for the Iraq war and hurricane relief.

 

Asked whether, as Bush had said after the 2004 election, he still felt he had "political capital" to spend, he replied steadily, "I'm spending that capital on the war."

 

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/21/news/prexy.php

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He also thought that the war wouldn't cost the taxpayers more than $2 billion. No, I'm not kidding.

 

One thing about the press conference, he did admit that he has had to use the so-called "political capital" that he claimed after the 2004 election on this war.

 

It's obvious that they have no clue when we'll be able to bring our troops home.

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It's obvious that they have no clue when we'll be able to bring our troops home.

 

 

To be honest, I don't know how long we'd have to stay to have a lasting impact anyways. You know?

 

I mean, if we're over to actually change it for the better than do what you have to do, preferably with the minimum.

 

But, on the other hand you gotta' admit this administration has been stubborn as hell about this. And on some level, I'm with them. We went over and started a war. Conquered the Iraqis in a few months. And now we really have to clean up. Make things right.

 

I just don't know if we can. I'm pessimistic as hell about this.

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I think that you guys are taking this out of context.

 

The question was:"When will all American troops leave Iraq."

President Bush said "That, of course, is an objective," Bush said, "And that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq."

 

We have an embassy in Iraq and a permanent Military base, there will always be U.S. Military in Iraq, just like there is in over 80 other countries.

The U.S. currently has 136,000 troops in Iraq, when Bush leaves office there could 5,000, which would mean all American troops aren't out of Iraq.

 

Anyone watch the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer last night on CNN? They were talking about the same thing.

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yeah but it ain't gonna be 5000. If we've got 136K currently there, I'll be shocked if we still don't have close to 100K by the time Bush leaves office.

 

 

You obviously don't watch the news too much. By 2008 the pentagon wants to reduce troop levels by 1/2, thats 68,000 troops, plus then you have another year, which on that pace would reduce them below 50,000.

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He made a very good speech today.

 

"I will make up my mind based upon the recommendations of those who are on the ground, i'm going to make up my mind achieving a victory, not based upon polls, focus groups, or election year politics."

 

Bush has been VERY aggressive over the past few days and I love it.

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He made a very good speech today.

 

"I will make up my mind based upon the recommendations of those who are on the ground, i'm going to make up my mind achieving a victory, not based upon polls, focus groups, or election year politics."

 

Bush has been VERY aggressive over the past few days and I love it.

 

I think it's more like he's shifting the responsibility for troop numbers to the military, so that he can avoid those questions later.

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We never go in and exit quickly. Bosnia/Serbia/whateverelsethearetoday-ia drug on longer than expected. That's the nature of military action. Unless you're planning on decapitating a regime and letting the power vacuum fill itself (which can be an even bigger risk), timetables for troop extraction are irrelevant. If you go in with a pre-announced withdrawal date, you're telling the enemy just hold out until date X. You have to go in with the mindset that we're staying until the job is done. You can argue about the mission we undertook, but now that we're in it we need to see it through.

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OMG this man is trying to avoid all responsibiltiy for this war. When was the last time that Bush answered a question honestly. Alberto Gonzalez had guts going to georgetown but he didnt say anything there is NO defense for anything this administration has done in 4 YEARS!!!!!!! I mean its starting not even to affect some people its gotten so bad.

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We never go in and exit quickly. Bosnia/Serbia/whateverelsethearetoday-ia drug on longer than expected. That's the nature of military action. Unless you're planning on decapitating a regime and letting the power vacuum fill itself (which can be an even bigger risk), timetables for troop extraction are irrelevant. If you go in with a pre-announced withdrawal date, you're telling the enemy just hold out until date X. You have to go in with the mindset that we're staying until the job is done. You can argue about the mission we undertook, but now that we're in it we need to see it through.

 

Fine. But lets not pretend that a good degree of war supporters, through strong implications of the administration, didnt think think war would be end quickly. What was it about meeting us with flowers? Dissatification is not coming from the angry left. It's coming from his own.

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And everyone said Bush was a dumbass.

 

He wanted to become a war president like his daddy. He comes to the White House and hounds Iraq and Iran until one of them attacks us, they give in and attack and he goes after the wrong country.

 

In the coming year, more innocent people will die in the name of Bush. In the coming years, Bush will leave office being remembered as one of the worst presidents in history. He will leave all of our troops there and run away from his problems and let someone else whipe his ass for him just like he did when he ran away from the Air National Guard and his daddy kept him out of the brig.

 

Bush's strategy was brilliant.

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