September 15th, 2007
09:05 AM ET
11 years ago

Iraq debate plays out on radio

President Bush stood by his Iraq plan on Saturday.

(CNN)–The state of U.S. involvement in Iraq following the much anticipated testimony this week from General David Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, was the talk of the airwaves Saturday.

President Bush used his weekly radio address to re-affirm the plan he laid out to the nation in a televised address Thursday night.

"I have accepted General Petraeus's recommendations. And I have directed that he and Ambassador Crocker deliver another report to Congress in March," Mr. Bush said. "At that time, they will provide a fresh assessment of the situation in Iraq and of the troop levels we need to meet our national security objectives. The principle that guides my decisions on troop levels is "return on success." The more successful we are, the more troops can return home. And in all we do, I will ensure that our commanders on the ground have the troops and flexibility they need to defeat the enemy."

The president went on to say the outcome in Iraq is important.

"The success of a free Iraq is critical to the security of the United States," he said. "If we were to be driven out of Iraq, extremists of all strains would be emboldened. Al Qaeda could find new recruits and new sanctuaries. And a failed Iraq could increase the likelihood that our forces would someday have to return - and confront extremists even more entrenched and even more deadly. By contrast, a free Iraq will deny al Qaeda a safe haven. It will counter the destructive ambitions of Iran. And it will serve as a partner in the fight against terrorism."

Delivering the response for the Democrats, Tom Lantos, Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said the 'surge' strategy announced earlier in the year by the president, was a failure.

"Strategically, the escalation has failed," the Democrat from California said. "It was intended to buy time for Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki and the other Iraqi political leaders to find ways to move toward the one thing that may end this terrible civil conflict – a political settlement. As best we can see, that time has been utterly squandered. Prime Minister Maliki has not shown the slightest inclination to move in the direction of compromise."

"To win the war against international terrorism, we must stop frittering away our resources – military, diplomatic, and economic – on an endless religious war in Iraq," Lantos said.

Lantos also criticized the administration for continuing to "stay the course" in Iraq in the wake of other issues back home. "The war is also forcing us to give short shrift to pressing domestic needs such as health care, crumbling infrastructure, and public education. These costs will be passed on to our grandchildren, and beyond."

- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Iraq • President Bush
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. pl. at the UN for a while.

    I am not American. I cannot vote. But I am very well informed of all issues re Islam.

    I do not know what to say anymore. Is it possible that no one among the presidential advisors and his cabinet is putting forward a correct view of how Muslims understand "democracy"?

    What the West calls democracy, Muslims call imperialism. What Muslims call profoundly religious, the West refers to as barbaric. Muslims perceive themselves as having a God-imposed duty to extirpate all forms of imperialisms. Western-style "democracy" will never fly in Muslim countries.

    September 15, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    "No timetable, no funds, no war." Step up if you have the courage to wage war against this war. If not, Chuck Hagel advises you to go sell shoes or something where you can handle the heat.

    September 15, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. alan St Louis Mo

    We need stop wasting our money and lives on this Iraq war.


    1) IRAQ HAD NO PART OF 9/11
    2) SADAM HATED OSAMA hmm Instead of killing him we could have used him to catch OSAMA. /// Any one every asked the Islams in the middle east and said Sadam and Osama were friends and worked togather? ///They will respond by falling to the ground and pass out laughing so hard. Sadam and Osama were blood enemies.
    3) We could have demand sadam to bring us Osama then we would believe you are not a threat. you know what it probably would have worked. Why Sadam knows the inner workings of Islam and he has buddies and spies all over Islam. Then Sadam probably would chopped off Osama head and fed x it to bush on a silver platter. Instead we got greedy for the oil and killed Sadam and let Osama run to plague us with his terriorism.
    4) So far I have not seen or heard of a terriost attack on the united states the was caused by Iraq or Sadam. SO why is Iraq a war on terriorism?????
    5) The 500 plus billions dollars wasted here could have been spent on the most important resorce america posses. OUR CHILDREN. Our schools sux bad we are falling behind every contry in education. We are going backwards on advancing as a civilized country. The old hate that plagued this country is starting to come back. you know all the ISM. Raceism, Genderism, Religionism.

    We need to redefine war on terror.

    September 15, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. alan St Louis Mo

    What good is this war on terrior? When the after math of it will make us become the very evil we intend to destroy. A Terrorist nation by the world standard.

    September 15, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Garrett Babb Indianapolis, IN

    Why are we in Iraq again? I can't remember but I think it has something to do with freeing the people, or WMD's, or Al Qaeda ties, or UN violations. Or maybe we were lied to and they continue to lie to us. A little outrage would do us good. It's time to get pissed off about how our country is steered into oblivion to the blind profit of transnational corporations and global government supporters. I'm tired of the world getting worse and worse. Let's get up off our couches and DO SOMETHING!!

    September 15, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. alan St Louis Mo


    6. Sadam also hated IRAN. Wow instead of americans dieing we could have used Sadam to keep Iran in check. And it would not upset the Islams becuse it would have been Isalm fighting Islams.

    The WAR ON IGNORANCE needs to examine the White house first.

    September 15, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Marlon's Brando Atlanta GA

    Alan from St. Louis,

    Glad to hear that you're not nuts – we agree on this one – which, by the way, is right now more important!

    September 15, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  8. erika morgan black dimond wa

    And what makes George think we believe him or any of his minions after observing his lying over the past six years? Delusion pure delusion. My question is what is holding back the men in white with a straight jacket from dragging George off to rehab where he belongs?

    September 15, 2007 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  9. scott, manchester NH

    i honestly cant believe that CNN has been removing my comments...and there's nothing outrageous about them...
    everyone should be aware of this...i expressed my anticipation about not having to see any more photos of Bush when his trainwreck is all over next year...
    i've HAD it with LOOKING at that guy!

    September 15, 2007 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  10. KD, Dallas, TX

    This war in Iraq is nothing but upsetting. I am tired of being lied to. The respect we once had in the world has diminished significantly. We are the terrorists in many people's eyes. We are the aggressors. Our citizens blind sheep following whatever they are told. Bush used PNAC ideology to get us into this war that had NOTHING to do with Iraq. The benefit for him and so many in his inner circle was achieving no bid contracts for Haliburton. You better believe that Cheney has profited greatly with this war; among many others in the oil industry. If you take the time to read the PNAC report created long before 911, you would see that Iraq and Afghanistan were targets way before anything happened. I wish people really took the time to know what's going on. We were lead into this illegal war and now Bush wants to push it off on to someone else. He is the absolute worst president in our country's history.

    September 16, 2007 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  11. Geiss, Estherville, IA

    "Return on success"....hmmm...we'll have 130,000 troops there forever, then...there will never be "success" in Iraq or anyplace else in the Middle East...Bush was, is and will always be a fool to think he can impose his will on Islam...

    September 16, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. laurinda, shokan,n.y.

    Bush just can not comprehend that Iraq will never be a democracy. They have lived like that from the beginning of time. They cut each others heads off over there. The women wear there heads covered up, people are not allowed to voice their opinion. There is no way in hell that a woman in a democracy would ever wear their head all covered or be told what they can or can't say. Bush should start worrying about this mess he made in our country before another country gets the idea to come and free us from the Bush administration.

    September 16, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  13. Bill Charleston SC

    People, come on, do you really believe the things you're writing here? How can we as Americans, while we have soldiers in battle, advocate a surrender, or even contemplate defeat? What happened to the revolutionary spirit in this country? Where would we be today if our allies during our revolutionary war had cut and run on us? We'd most likely be speaking the king's English right now. Democracy does not take root overnight in a nation that has never experienced it. Yes there is violence in Iraq. Good grief, how could there be not be? Time people. We need to invest time in Iraq. If we do, we stand a very good chance of stabilizing the middle east. If we cut and run, get used to the violence. And not only in Iraq. It will be here in America before you know it.

    September 17, 2007 07:41 am at 7:41 am |