Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the Democratic-controlled US Congress not to interfere in the conduct of the Iraq war and suggested President George W. Bush would defy troop withdrawal legislation.
But Sen. Carl Levin, Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said lawmakers would step up efforts to force Bush to change course. "The president needs a check and a balance," said Levin.
Rice said Sunday that proposals being drafted by Senate Democrats to limit the war amounted to "the worst of micromanagement of military affairs." She said military leaders such as Gen. David Petraeus, the new US commander in Iraq, believe Bush's plan to send more troops is necessary.
"I can't imagine a circumstance in which it's a good thing that their flexibility is constrained by people sitting here in Washington, sitting in the Congress," Rice said. She was asked in a broadcast interview whether Bush would feel bound by legislation seeking to withdraw combat troops within 120 days.
"The president is going to, as commander in chief, need to do what the country needs done," she said.