Kategori: SAMHÄLLE / Känsla: Arg
Publicerad: 2007-09-01 19:23
Bush Fights Back on Iraq Debate – stealtha in By STEVEN LEE MYERS and DAVID S. CLOUD
Published: September 1, 2007
WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 — President Bush, appearing confident about sustaining support for his Iraq strategy, met at the Pentagon on Friday with the uniformed leaders of the nation’s armed services and then pointedly accused the war’s opponents of politicizing the debate over what to do next.“The stakes in Iraq are too high and the consequences too grave for our security here at home to allow politics to harm the mission of our men and women in uniform,
” Mr. Bush said in a statement after his meeting with the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines in a briefing room known as the Tank.
The meeting, which lasted an hour and a half, was among the president’s last Iraq strategy sessions before he leaves for Australia to meet with leaders of Asian and Pacific nations. It came on the eve of a string of reports and hearings that, starting next week, could determine the course of the remaining 16 months of Mr. Bush’s presidency.Beginning on Tuesday, when Congress returns from its August recess, lawmakers are prepared to debate what to do in Iraq in daily hearings that will culminate on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 with appearances by the ambassador to Iraq, Ryan C. Crocker, and the military commander there, Gen. David H. Petraeus.Congress has mandated a progress report from the White House before Sept. 15, and Mr. Bush chided lawmakers for calling for a change in policy before hearing the views of the two men who are, as administration officials repeatedly point out, “on the ground in Iraq.”
“Congress asked for this assessment,” Mr. Bush said in the statement, “and members of Congress should withhold judgment until they have heard it.”That has not stopped Mr. Bush from making an impassioned defense of the increase in American troops that he ordered in January, making the judgment that the new strategy was working and deserved a chance to continue doing so. In recent speeches,
Other reports — including a National Intelligence Estimate released last week, an early draft of a Government Accountability Office study, and a grim assessment of the Iraqi national police by a commission established by Congress — have tempered some of Mr. Bush’s claims, setting the stage for a furious debate with lawmakers in September. “What we’re hearing is a pretty consistent message of failure on the political front in Iraq,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat, who visited Iraq in August.