President Bush again cited the "Korean model" as a possibility for Iraq on Wednesday, though this time acknowledging the two situations do not allow for direct comparison.
"The U.S. presence enabled the South Korean economy and system to evolve, and at the same time, provided assurances to the Chinese and the Japanese," Bush told reporters on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit in Germany.
"It helped achieve an objective for all of us, and today, the Far East is peaceful. And it wasn't peaceful at the end of the Korean War. It was a place where thousands of Americans had lost lives."
But Bush added, "The comparison between Korea and the Middle East is, again, not to say that the religious situation was the same -- of course, it was different -- nor to say that some of the influential players were the same -- it's different. But it is to say that given time, these democracies will emerge."
White House spokesman Tony Snow described the the "Korean model" during a press conference last week as "one in which the United States provides a security presence, but you've had the development of a successful democracy in South Korea over a period of years, and, therefore, the United States is there as a force of stability."
Recent White House discussion of the Korean model has led to concern among Democratic members of Congress worried about the costs associated with maintaining a long-term presence in Iraq, and critics such as former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski have charged that citing the post-war US presence in Korea as appropriate for modern Iraq ignores the vast historical differences between the two scenarios.