President George W. Bush
said Tuesday that "it would be a terrible mistake" to pull US forces out of Iraq
and that politics should not play any part in a decision about withdrawal.
"We will make decisions about troops levels based upon the capability of the Iraqis to take the fight to the enemy," Bush said. "I will make decisions on the level of troops based upon the recommendations of commanders on the ground."
The argument against withdrawal was echoed in Washington by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. He said that quitting the war would allow insurgents to prevail and put the United States "at still greater risk."