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Bush speaking to the press on April 3 (official site) April 5, 2007 -- U.S. President George W. Bush says he knows Americans are weary of the war in Iraq and are wondering if the United States can succeed.

But, in an April 4 speech to troops, some of whom are about to deploy to Iraq, Bush said efforts to set what he called an "artificial deadline" for withdrawal made U.S. forces more vulnerable.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have approved bills that tie war spending to timetables for a troop withdrawal -- moves Bush has said he will veto.

"The enemy does not measure the conflict in Iraq in terms of timetables," he said. "They plan to fight us, and we've got to fight them alongside the Iraqis. A strategy that encourages this enemy to wait us out is dangerous. It's dangerous for our troops. It's dangerous for our country's security. And it's not going to become the law."

Earlier, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said congressional proposals to fund only certain U.S. operations in Iraq could unleash further bloodshed there.

Meanwhile, the White House has again criticized a trip to Syria by a top politician from the opposition Democratic Party.

Vice President Dick Cheney said the visit by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, undermined U.S.-led efforts to isolate President Bashar al-Assad and instead rewarded his "bad behavior" in Lebanon, Iraq, and elsewhere.

After talks with al-Assad in Damascus on April 4, Pelosi said he had given reassurances he was willing to hold peace talks with Israel.

(AFP, Reuters, AP)
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