|As the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war
approaches, debate over the war's future is heating up among politicians
in Washington. The sides of the argument mostly fall along partisan lines,
with Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, sharply criticizing
the Bush administration's policies. VOA's Stephanie Ho has more on the
Critics of the Bush administration's Iraq policy include Democratic
Senator John Kerry, who was his party's presidential candidate in 2004. He
blasted the White House for sending more U.S. troops to Iraq, and said he
believes there is no military solution to the ongoing violence in the
"I get really angry," said John Kerry. "I heard about those four
soldiers killed today and I say to myself, as someone who remembers going
out on patrols that sort of had a huge question mark over them, what are
we doing? What are these kids doing, going out there and finding an IED
[improvised explosive device] the hard way?"
The four U.S. troops were killed Sunday by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.
In an effort to quell the violence, the White House in January said it
is sending 21,500 additional U.S. troops to Iraq. More recently, the Bush
administration announced it is sending 4,700 more troops to Iraq, mostly
to serve in a support capacity.
The Bush administration's policy
was praised by White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.
Speaking on the ABC television program This Week, he acknowledged that
some Iraqis want the U.S. military presence to be, in his words, "over."
"But the point is we need to get it in a position where the Iraqis can
take responsibility for security successfully," said Stephen Hadley.
"Because if we do not and we do a premature withdrawal, then what we have
is a situation where, if the Iraqi forces cannot handle the situation,
which is the case now, we have Iraq as a safe haven for terrorists, who
will destabilize the neighbors and attack us."
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates appeared on the CBS television
program Face the Nation to urge critics to wait and see whether the White
House's latest troop surge plan is effective.
the commander out there, has said it will probably be summer before we
know whether we are being successful or not," said Robert Gates. "But I
would say that the Iraqis are meeting the commitments they have made to
Democratic congressman and prominent critic of the Iraq war, John
Murtha, indicated his distrust of the Bush administration's management, in
an appearance on CNN's Late Edition.
"Every time they say there is progress, it turns out there is no
progress and then they have to backtrack," said Congressman Murtha. "For
instance, they say everything is getting better, yet oil production,
electricity production are all below pre-war levels. Incidents have
increased outside Baghdad."
He said he believes something dramatic needs to be done in order for
the situation to get better. He is among supporters of legislation in the
House of Representatives that includes a deadline of September 2008 for
U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Iraq.
Meanwhile, thousands of people demonstrated in Washington Saturday to
show their opposition to the Iraq War. There were others demonstrating in
Protests are expected to continue in the United States and elsewhere in
the world before Tuesday's four-year anniversary of the start of the war.