1305White House: U.S. may withdraw before violence ends in Iraq
- Nov 30, 2005http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2005-11-30T143553Z_01_FOR042474_RTRUKOC_0_US-IRAQ-BUSH.xml
White House sees years of Iraq violence
Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:36 AM ET162
By Tabassum Zakaria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on
Wednesday that Iraq was likely to struggle with
violence for many years, but as its forces
increasingly take over security, U.S. troops can
President George W. Bush, in a speech at the U.S.
Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, is expected to
try and counter criticism that his administration
lacks a clear Iraq strategy.
Before the speech, the White House released a document
titled, "Our National Strategy for Victory in Iraq,"
repeating the Bush administration's stance that
setting a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from
Iraq would be harmful because it would embolden the
"No war has ever been won on a timetable -- and
neither will this one," the document said.
Bush has been battling rising criticism including
calls for a troop withdrawal and public
dissatisfaction over his handling of Iraq where a
violent insurgency is raging.
More than 2,100 U.S. troops have died and nearly
16,000 more have been wounded since the March 2003
The White House document said it was "not realistic"
to expect a fully functioning democracy able to defeat
its enemies less than three years after Saddam Hussein
The White House, which is on the offensive against
critics who say the United States has become mired in
a conflict without a clear plan, cited political
progress in establishing a democracy with elections
scheduled December 15.
Democrats say Bush must come out with a specific exit
THREE GROUPS OF ENEMIES
The White House document defines "the enemy" as
largely members of three groups that oppose the new
Iraq and each must be handled differently. "Exploiting
these differences within the enemy is a key element of
our strategy," it said.
"Rejectionists" were the largest group, mainly Sunni
Arabs who had power under Saddam. "We judge that over
time many in this group will increasingly support a
democratic Iraq provided that the federal government
protects minority rights and the legitimate interests
of all communities," the document said.
"Saddamists" loyal to the former leader dream of
re-establishing a dictatorship. "We judge that few
from this group can be won over to support a
democratic Iraq, but that this group can be
marginalized to the point where it can and will be
defeated by Iraqi forces," it said.
"Terrorists" affiliated or inspired by al Qaeda are
the smallest, but most lethal group and an immediate
threat. "This group cannot be won over and must be
defeated -- killed or captured -- through sustained
counterterrorism operations," the document said.
Terrorism and insurgencies historically take many
years to defeat. "Iraq is likely to struggle with some
level of violence for many years to come," it said.
Lack of a troop withdrawal timetable does not mean the
U.S. stance will remain static, the White House said.
"We expect, but cannot guarantee, that our force
posture will change over the next year, as the
political process advances and Iraqi security forces
grow and gain experience," the document said.
As of November there were more than 212,000 trained
and equipped Iraqi security forces compared with
96,000 in September 2004, the White House document
(Additional reporting by Steve Holland)