White House snubs Baker’s Iraq plea
The White House says it is considering several different proposals regarding Iraq.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said that Bush, “as commander in chief, still has the obligation to take seriously every bit of analysis and advice he gets and to make his own decisions.”
Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman, said on Friday the ISG report would be considered along with internal reviews conducted by the Pentagon, the state department and the national security council.
The Iraq Study Group, led by Baker and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, released its report on Wednesday.
Among the report’s recommendations were talks with Iran and Syria and pulling back US combat forces by early 2008.
Bush has rejected direct talks with Iran and Syria and at a news conference with Tony Blair, the British prime minister, he also declined to endorse the proposal that US troops be pulled out of Iraq by early 2008.
Democratic senator Richard Durbin said Bush did not reject the report outright but “when he talked about his approach to Iraq, there was no indication of a change in basic strategy. He talked about changing some tactics.”
Perino said Bush is keeping an “open mind” about recommendations from the bipartisan panel on ways to change US stratedy in Iraq.
The Democrats will take control of the US Congress in January and have said they will put pressure on the president to change his stance on Iraq.
“The people of America want to apologize to the Iraqis for the mistakes of our elected officials”
Al Hajji Yusef, Mobile, US
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Harry Reid, a Democratic senator and soon to be the Senate majority leader, said: “Someone has to get the message to this man.”
Public support for the Bush’s handling of the war has continued to decline.
An AP-Ipsos poll taken earlier this week found that just 27 percent of the American public approve of the president’s handling of Iraq, down from the previous low of 31 percent in November.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic senator who will take over as speaker of the House of Representatives, said: “The time for change is now and is apparent to the American people.”