Bush says not satisified with situation in Iraq
WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) President George W Bush, struggling to defend the Iraq war amid election-year demands for change, admitted today he was not satisfied with the way the war is going but urged Americans not to give up on it.
Bush spent more than an hour in the White House East Room, starting with a 15-minute speech and then taking questions from reporters, to try to convince people of the need to support the war after a month in which 93 U S troops have been killed and polls have shown declining support.
''I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq. I'm not satisfied either,'' Bush said. ''But we cannot allow our dissatisfaction to turn into disillusionment about our purpose in this war.'' Democrats are hoping to convert American dissatisfaction with the war, now longer than U S involvement in World War Two, into big gains in November 7 congressional elections and wrest control of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate from the control of Bush's Republicans.
Urged by some critics to dump Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as a way to shift course in Iraq, Bush adamantly refused to do so and said he would increase U S troop strength in Iraq if more troops are requested by Gen George Casey, the top U S commander in Iraq.
''I'm satisfied with how he's done all his jobs,'' Bush said of Rumsfeld's performance in handling Iraq and Afghanistan. ''He is a smart, tough, capable administrator.'' MORE REUTERS PB KP2312