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Bush rules out pullout from Iraq

September 01, 2006 10:09 IST

United States President George W Bush has justified the continuance of US forces in trouble-torn Iraq arguing that a hasty withdrawal from there will result in Washington losing credibility and emboldening its enemies.

Bush said a premature withdrawal will have multiple implications for the US including loss of credibility, a defeat in the ideological struggle of the 21st century and an enemy following to the streets of America from the streets of Baghdad.

"If we leave before Iraq can defend itself and govern itself and sustain itself, this will be a key defeat for the US in this ideological struggle of the 21st century," he said at a fund raiser for Senator Orrin Hatch in Utah.

"If we leave before this young democracy has its roots firmly in place, so that an example of liberty flourishes in a region that is so desperate for something other than a society that's caused resentment and hopelessness, if we leave it will embolden the enemy," Bush added.

Emphasising that the US will lose its credibility if it withdraws from Iraq, Bush said: "People will look at our words as empty words. People will not trust the judgement and the leadership of the United States."

"Reformers will shrink from their deep desire to live in a free society. Moderates will wonder if their voice will ever be heard again. If we leave before the job will be done, those who sacrificed, those brave volunteers who sacrifice in our United States military will have died in vain...If we leave before the job is done -- if we leave the streets of Baghdad, the enemy will follow us to our own streets in America," the President said.

Stressing the importance of staying the course in Iraq -- a theme that is expected to be pitched for the next several days and making it a major topic for November 2006 -- Bush argued that the only way for the United States to 'lose' is to leave before the job is done.

"The stakes are high. I believe the only way we can lose is if we leave before the job is done. That's what I believe. I'm making decisions based upon the recommendations of commanders on the ground," he said, adding: "I want to assure you, polls and focus groups will not decide the Iraq policy in the global war on terror."

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
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