Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Senator says Bush needs to depoliticize Iraq debate

Senator says Bush needs to depoliticize Iraq debate

CHICAGO (Reuters) - President George W. Bush should take politics out of the Iraq war by admitting he made mistakes and pledging to work with both parties to find a responsible way to end it, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois said on Tuesday.

By turning the discussion of the war into a for-us or against-us proposition, the White House last week "showed exactly what kind of debate it wants on the future of Iraq -- none," Obama said in a speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.

Obama, the only black in the Senate, said Bush "could take the politics out of Iraq once and for all" if he would tell the American people: "'Yes, we made mistakes. Yes. there are things I would have done differently. But ... I am willing to work with both Republicans and Democrats to find the most responsible way out.'"

The administration's response last week to Democratic Rep. John Murtha's call for an immediate troop withdrawal was "shameful," Obama said, and pushed the debate farther from finding a pragmatic solution to the conflict.

"No American wants a war without end -- a war where our goals and strategies drift aimlessly regardless of the cost in lives or dollars spent and where we end up with arbitrary poll-driven troop reductions ...," he said.