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Bush Wants To Create Bipartisan Working Group On War January 11, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Politics, US News, White House.

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–President George W. Bush, whose new Iraq strategy has drawn staunch opposition from Democrats, plans to form a bipartisan working group on the war on terror.

Bush will announce the new panel when he unveils his new Iraq strategy in a speech Wednesday, according to a text of the address.

“This group will meet regularly with me and my administration, and it will help strengthen our relationship with Congress,” Bush said. He said the group’s first order of business will be to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps, a proposal that has bipartisan support.

“We also need to examine ways to mobilize talented American civilians to deploy overseas – where they can help build democratic institutions in communities and nations recovering from war and tyranny,” Bush said.

The panel, which Bush said was recommended by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and others, is unlikely to mollify most Democrats, who complain that Bush ignored their views in crafting the Iraq strategy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Wednesday that the House will vote on the president’s new strategy.

Bush, in his prime-time address, said he “carefully considered” proposals to scale back efforts in Baghdad or begin a phased troop withdrawal.

“We concluded that to step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear that country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale,” the president said.

Promising to work with Congress in the days ahead, Bush said his national security team will brief lawmakers soon on the new strategy and listen to opposing viewpoints.

“If members have improvements that can be made, we will make them,” he said. “If circumstances change, we will adjust.”

By Henry J. Pulizzi, Dow Jones Newswires


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