6-29-05 - FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - President Bush says he won't send more troops to Iraq or set a timetable for withdrawal because he doesn't want to imply the US intends to stay forever.
He gave that message in a speech to the nation delivered from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Bush said that setting a timetable would be "a serious mistake" because it would send the wrong message to the people of Iraq and to an enemy that would simply wait it out.
He said the enemy consists of terrorists, foreign fighters, criminals and former backers of Saddam Hussein, all motivated "because the survival of their hateful ideology is at stake."
The president also noted progress in Iraq's political system and improvements made to basic services. He also said initiatives are under way to improve Iraqi forces.
Democrats and other critics of President Bush's Iraq policy say his prime-time speech to the nation needed more specifics.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says Bush's Iraq policy is "adrift." The Nevada Democrat also said staying the course "is neither sustainable nor likely to lead to success."
Arkansas Democrat Vic Snyder says the US has no choice but to make things work in Iraq. Otherwise, he says the war will have converted "the police state of Saddam Hussein, into a failed state" where terrorists can thrive.