Bush Hails House War-Fund Bill Free of Timeline
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
President Bush had some dire warnings. At his Rose Garden news conference today, he said it would be a difficult summer with more American casualties in Iraq. But he said that leaving Iraq would put American children in danger. He also warned Iraq's neighbor, Iran, not to pursue a program to develop nuclear weapons.
In a moment, we'll have the latest on efforts to fund the Iraq war and analyses of the president's remarks. First, to NPR's Don Gonyea, who was in the Rose Garden this morning.
DON GONYEA: The president opened the news conference by praising the funding bill for Iraq that Congress was on the brink of approving, a bill the White House considers a victory because it does not include any kind of timeline for a troop withdrawal.
There is, however, still a timeline for Iraq that members of both parties in Congress are looking to. They want to see evidence of real progress in September, that's when U.S. commander David Petraeus is set to report on what success troop increases have had.
Today, the president was asked if U.S. adversaries in Iraq aren't also mindful of all the focus on September. He acknowledged that they are.
President GEORGE W. BUSH: And so, yeah, it could be a bloody - it could be a very difficult August, and I fully understand.
GONYEA: The president also argued that the U.S. military is in Iraq because the Iraqi government wants it that way. And what if the U.S. were asked to leave?
Pres. BUSH: We are there at their request. And, you know, hopefully, the Iraqi government would be wise enough to recognize that without coalition troops, U.S. troops, that they would endanger their very existence.
GONYEA: The president also had a cautionary note for Iraq's neighbor, Iran, which a U.N. monitoring group says is accelerating its nuclear enrichment program. Today, the U.S. president added this.
Pres. BUSH: The world has spoken and said, you know, no nuclear weapons programs. And yet they're constantly ignoring the demands.
GONYEA: Calling for more international sanctions against Iran's nuclear program, the president seemed to be warning that despite America's difficult struggle next door in Iraq, Washington still had its eye on Tehran.
Don Gonyea, NPR News, the White House.