Iraq Policy: 'Stay the Course' or New Directions?

Alex Chadwick reviews the ongoing debate over U.S. strategy in Iraq. President Bush on Wednesday vowed to "stay the course" in the war, and touted the formation of Iraqi troops that will eventually be charged with keeping the peace. But critics say the president offered no new ideas for ending a war many believe is going badly.

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

From NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

The lead today: more on Iraq and this country's involvement there, and a fundamental question about the rules of war.

We'll begin with these details. In Iraq today, in the city of Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar, US military officers were meeting local leaders when insurgents attacked the site with mortars. There were no reported injuries, but there are accounts of many armed men running out in the streets, some reports say hundreds of them. Then the insurgents withdrew, leaving behind posters saying they were from al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Here in the US, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Peter Pace, spoke at the National Defense University in Washington, following on President Bush's speech yesterday about how to win the war. Here's some of what General Pace said about defining victory.

General PETER PACE (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff): It is not Victory in Europe Day, it is not Victory in Japan Day, it is not something where there'll be a signing ceremony. In Iraq, short term, it is steady progress in political, economic and security. In the midterm, it's Iraqi lead in all of those categories and, in the long term, is a free and peaceful Iraq living at peace with its neighbors and no longer hospitable to terrorist acts.

CHADWICK: That's the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace.

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