President Bush lobbed an official response back to the Democratic Congress today in the ongoing confrontation over the defense supplemental spending bill, reaffirming his intent to veto any required withdrawal date.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Bush said that if "Democratic leaders insist on using the bill to make a political statement, they will leave me with only one option: I will veto it."
In Bush's view, the plan Democrats outlined yesterday "will fund our troops only if we agree to handcuff our generals, add billions of dollars in unrelated spending, and begin to pull out of Iraq by an arbitrary date."
"The security of our country depends directly on the outcome in Iraq," President Bush said, echoing statements similar to those uttered by his political opponents, though the two camps take dramatically different views on how the war affects US security.
From the President's perspective, "Precipitous withdrawal from Iraq is not a plan to bring peace to the region or to make our people safer at home. Instead, it would embolden our enemies and confirm their belief that America is weak."
In the view of many Congressional Democrats, however, setting a timetable for withdrawal would, in the words of Sen. Harry Reid yesterday, reduce "the specter of the U.S. occupation, which gives fuel to the insurgency."
See here for the full transcript of the President's comments.