Bush refuses to discuss timetable for withdrawal from Iraq
US President Bush, returning from Iraq, rejected calls for a U.S. withdrawal as and refused to give a timetable or benchmark for success that would allow soldiers to come home. "It's bad policy," Bush said about six hours after he returned from Iraq. "I know it may sound good politically. It will endanger our country to pull out of Iraq before we accomplish the mission."
The news conference was called following Bush's 5 1/2-hour trip to Baghdad Tuesday. The visit marked his first meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "I sense something different happening in Iraq," Bush said, according to the AP.
He defended the decision not to tell the prime minister that the U.S. president was in his country until five minutes before they met and denied that it was because of any concern about al-Maliki's inner circle. "I'm a high-value target for some," Bush said. "I think if there was ample notification that I was coming, perhaps it would have given somebody a chance to plan, and we just didn't want to take that risk."
Bush did not offer any specific targets to measure when Iraqis will be able to govern themselves. Instead, he declared that the government must be able to succeed and that leaving too early would "make the world a more dangerous place."