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Bush prepares veto of Iraq bill requiring troop withdrawals

Bush prepares veto of Iraq bill requiring troop withdrawals

Moving toward a veto of a war spending bill, President George W. Bush said Tuesday that Democrats who made the legislation a showdown over withdrawing U.S. troops could turn Iraq into a "cauldron of chaos" with their approach.
"Success in Iraq is critical to the security of free people everywhere," Bush said at the headquarters of U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.
Congress was expected to send the bill to the president sometime Tuesday, and he planned to veto it either later Tuesday or early Wednesday. Later Wednesday, Bush is to meet at the White House with congressional leaders from both parties, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Tuesday was the fourth anniversary of Bush's announcement aboard the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.
"The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001, and still goes on," Bush said on May 1, 2003, in front of a huge "Mission Accomplished" banner.
Bush since has acknowledged that the war has not progressed as he had hoped. After the November elections in which Democrats swept up enough seats to take control of Congress, he announced a new strategy that involved sending additional forces to Iraq.
In an unusual ceremony Tuesday to commemorate Congress' dispatch of the $124.2 billion (euro91.3 billion), Reid accused Bush of putting American troops "in the middle of a civil war" in Iraq, according to prepared remarks.
"A change of course is needed," Reid added.
"After more than four years of a failed policy, it's time for Iraq to take responsibility for its future," Reid said. "Today we renew our call to President Bush: There is still time to listen. There is still time to sign this bill and change course in Iraq."
Bush said pulling the American presence from Baghdad before Iraqis are capable of defending themselves would have disastrous results and give al-Qaida terrorists a haven from which to operate and an inspiration for new recruits and new attacks.
"The risks are enormous," he said in a remarks to a three-day annual conference of leaders from other countries participating in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.
The president did not explicitly mention the brinksmanship taking place in Washington over the war funding legislation, but made clear indirectly how he feels about its requirement that troops begin to be withdrawn by Oct. 1.


Updated : 2020-12-06 06:47 GMT+08:00