President Addresses Nation on Iraq War

By: Maya Kulycky, ABC News
By: Maya Kulycky, ABC News

On Sept. 13, President Bush addressed the nation on Iraq.

He detailed his plan for cutting back U.S. forces there to pre-surge levels.

Speaking to the American people from the Oval Office, President Bush announced a plan he calls "Return on Success." It includes adopting General David Petraeus' recommendation of a drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq, beginning immediately.

"Because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq, we can begin bringing troops home," President Bush said.

23,000 troops will leave Iraq by next summer, leaving 137,000. That's 7,000 more than were in Iraq when the surge began.

And U.S. troops, the president said, could be in Iraq indefinitely.

"They understand that their success will require U.S. political, economic and security engagement that extends beyond my presidency," he explained.

But, the president says, Iraq's government needs to do more.

He admits political progress is slow.

"The government has not met its own legislative benchmarks--and, in my meetings with Iraqi leaders, I have made it clear that they must," the president continued.

In their official response, Democrats called the president's plan "a disaster," saying it does not amount to real change.

"An endless and unlimited military presence in Iraq is not an option. We intend to exercise our constitutional duties and profoundly change our military involvement in Iraq," Senator Jack Reed assured.

Democrats are calling on moderate Republicans to join them in crafting legislation that would change the direction of the war.

They're planning another debate on Iraq in the Senate next week.


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