Bush made his remarks during a speech August 22 to U.S. military veterans.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dismissed Bush's position, saying a change of course in Iraq was "long overdue." He said Bush's strategy was "failing to deliver the political solution necessary for Iraq's stability."
Senator John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran who lost to Bush in the 2004 presidential race, urged Bush to "change course now" in Iraq. He said Bush was oversimplifying the differences with Vietnam and overlooking what he called the "tragic similarities."
Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said there was no military solution to Iraq's problems.
He called for increased diplomacy and humanitarian efforts in the region, as well as a "phased withdrawal" of U.S. forces so that pressure is placed on the Iraqi government to act.
But Bush said it was up to the Iraqi people to decide if al-Maliki remains in his job.
(compiled from agency reports)
LOOKING BEYOND AL-MALIKI: RFE/RL Iraq analyst Kathleen Ridolfo led an RFE/RL briefing about the changing political landscape in Iraq, focusing on efforts to gain the upper hand in the event that the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki falls.
LISTENListen to the entire briefing (about 70 minutes):
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