Early withdrawal from Iraq will create "terrorist state": Bush


(Gold9472: You mean as opposed to pre-emptively invading them?)


U.S. President George W. Bush on Wednesday rejected calls from Democrats for an early withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, saying such a pullout would "create a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East."

"Leaving before we complete our mission would create a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East, a country with huge oil reserves," Bush said in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The president was speaking at a fund-raising event for National Football League star Lynn Swann, the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania.

Terming Iraq as "the central front on the war on terror now," Bush said if the United States withdrew its troops from Iraq "before the mission is complete, it would hurt U.S. credibility."

"It's important to understand this is a global war on terror, not an isolated moment of law enforcement. This is the first war of the 21st century and the United States of America must lead that war, and we must be firm, and we must be resolved," he said.

Terming opposition Democrats' calls for an early withdrawal from Iraq as "cut and run," Bush said that would be a "defeat for the United States in a key battleground in the global war on terror."

The Iraq war is a major issue in the mid-term congressional elections in November, and recent polls showed many Americans were unsatisfied with Bush's Iraq policy.

A poll released by CNN early this month showed that 62 percent of those surveyed said they disapproved of Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq.