April 14, 2004
says setbacks in Iraq are small
the third press conference of his presidency, President
Bush reiterated that troops will remain in Iraq and that
the United States is committed to bringing freedom to
President Bush said Tuesday he intends on keeping American
troops in Iraq and emphasized that the setbacks America
has faced in the past month with the recent increase in
violence are small.
Standing before cameras for an hour giving a 17-minute
speech followed by reporters questions Bush
offered no apology for the governments failure to
prevent the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In response to questions, he also could not cite any mistakes
or failures he made as president.
Bush said the increase in violence at least 83
U.S. forces have been killed and more than 560 wounded
this month, according to the U.S. military in Iraq
is not a sign of a civil war. At least 678 U.S. troops
have died since the war began in March 2003.
The violence weve seen is a power grab by
... extreme and ruthless elements, Bush said.
With casualties climbing and doubts rising, Bush said
Americas year-long involvement in Iraq seems
like a long time to the loved ones whose troops have been
overseas. But when you think about where the country has
come from, its a relatively short period of time.
Bush reiterated that the United States will hand over
power to the Iraqis on June 30, but troops will remain
to maintain stability. He said he intends to give troops
all the resources necessary to maintain stability in Iraq.
He said Americas objective is firm: To make Iraq
an independent, free and secure nation.
Adam Schiffer, an assistant professor of political science
at TCU, said Bush used the news conference as an opportunity
to combat criticism over his handling of the war in Iraq.
He was tired of having people say bad things about
him without responding, Schiffer said. He
also needed to reassure the troops and the families who
lost loved ones.
In recent opinion polls, approval of Bushs handling
of Iraq has decreased to the mid-40 percent level, and
approval for his handling of terrorism has also decreased
into the mid-50s. Also, an increasing number of people
say the threat of terrorism is greater now after Americas
military action in Iraq.
Schiffer said Bush made it clear that he will not back
down from the war on terror and his speech showed his
determination to win the war.
However, Schiffer said Bush spoke in broad generalizations
and was not specific enough with his answers.
He dodged all reasonably tough questions,
Schiffer said. The biggest embarrassment is that
he couldnt name a mistake he has made since 9-11.
He couldnt admit that he has done anything wrong
and this has been a pattern in his administration.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.