Bush: No withdrawal, but Iraqis must do more
UNITED STATES: President George W. Bush, rejecting talk of withdrawal
timetables, pleaded Tuesday with lawmakers rebelling against his Iraq
strategy to hold their fire until a September progress report.
â€śWeâ€™ve got a plan to lead to victory,â€ť he told a friendly audience of
business leaders here as the US Congress geared up for perhaps its
sharpestattack on his unpopular war strategy.
â€śIn the meantime, the Iraqis have got to do more work,â€ť the embattled
Top US officials have increasingly expressed unhappiness with the
Baghdad governmentâ€™s failure to enact legislation governing oil revenue
sharing and setting up provincial elections, steps seen in Washington as
key to quelling sectarian violence.
Bushâ€™s comments came as the White House braced for an interim
progress report, due in Congress by July 15, that was expected to paint
a dark picture of trends in Iraq even as Democrats seek to force a US
Bush urged lawmakers to wait for the US commander in Iraq, General
David Petraeus, to give his September assessment of the situation,
calling that â€śa final report on the benchmarksâ€ť that lawmakers tied to
â€śAnd now, I call upon the United States Congress to give General
David Petraeus a chance to come back and tell us whether his strategy is
working, and then we can work together on a way forward,â€ť said Bush.
But â€śtroop levels will be decided by our commanders on the ground,
not by political figures in Washington,â€ť said the US president, who
acknowledged the American publicâ€™s deep unhappiness with sustained
deadly violence in Iraq.
Washington, Wednesday, AFP