Bush vetoes Iraqi withdrawal plan

Bush vetoes Iraqi withdrawal plan

WASHINGTON – US President George W Bush and Democrats were set to take a fresh stab at crafting a measure to fund the Iraq war yesterday, one day after Bush vetoed a bill setting an Iraq withdrawal timeline.

While the two sides were to meet at the White House hoping to hammer out new legislation to fund US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, there was little sign of compromise on a pullout, but talk of possible ‘benchmarks’ for the Iraqi government. “Members of the House and Senate passed a bill that substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgement of our military commanders, so a few minutes ago, I vetoed the bill,” Bush said.”Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible,” he said as protesters outside the White House chanted “Stop the war now!” and “How many more will die?” Bush had long pledged to defy the Democrat-controlled Congress with a veto of the bill, which was to allocate 124 billion dollars in emergency funding for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.The measure linked the funds to a call for the some 146 000 US combat troops in Iraq to start coming home by October 1, and for most of them to be withdrawn by March 2008.The veto came exactly four years after Bush declared major combat in Iraq in a ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech, and top Democrats quickly accused the Republican leader of trapping US soldiers ‘in the middle of an open-ended civil war’.”The president wants a blank check.The Congress is not going to give it to him,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned at a joint public appearance with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.”If the president thinks that by vetoing this bill, he will stop us from working to change the direction of this war, he is mistaken,” said Reid.”Now he has an obligation to explain his plan to responsibly end this war.”The House and Senate had approved the legislation by mostly party-line votes, with Democrats urging Bush to “listen to the American people” as polls showed a majority want the war to end.Nampa-AFP”Members of the House and Senate passed a bill that substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgement of our military commanders, so a few minutes ago, I vetoed the bill,” Bush said.”Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible,” he said as protesters outside the White House chanted “Stop the war now!” and “How many more will die?” Bush had long pledged to defy the Democrat-controlled Congress with a veto of the bill, which was to allocate 124 billion dollars in emergency funding for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.The measure linked the funds to a call for the some 146 000 US combat troops in Iraq to start coming home by October 1, and for most of them to be withdrawn by March 2008.The veto came exactly four years after Bush declared major combat in Iraq in a ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech, and top Democrats quickly accused the Republican leader of trapping US soldiers ‘in the middle of an open-ended civil war’.”The president wants a blank check.The Congress is not going to give it to him,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned at a joint public appearance with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.”If the president thinks that by vetoing this bill, he will stop us from working to change the direction of this war, he is mistaken,” said Reid.”Now he has an obligation to explain his plan to responsibly end this war.”The House and Senate had approved the legislation by mostly party-line votes, with Democrats urging Bush to “listen to the American people” as polls showed a majority want the war to end.Nampa-AFP

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