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Scribble runs in the opinion section of Flak Magazine.

By Charles Pugsley Fincher, A Spin-Off of
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From :

In Strong Words, Bush Tries to Redirect Debate on Iraq

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 - President Bush issued a stark warning to Democrats on Tuesday about how to conduct the debate on Iraq as midterm elections approach, declaring that Americans know the difference between "honest critics" and those "who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people."

In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars here, Mr. Bush appeared to be trying to pre-empt a renewal of arguments about whether to begin a withdrawal immediately, as Representative John Murtha argued in November, or whether to keep a large presence in Iraq through the year.

Democrats themselves have been deeply divided on that issue, even while criticizing Mr. Bush's conduct of the war.

In some of his most combative language yet directed at his critics, Mr. Bush said Americans should insist on a debate "that brings credit to our democracy, not comfort to our adversaries." That follows a theme that Vice President Dick Cheney set last week, when he said critics of the administration's conduct of the war risked undercutting the effort to defeat the insurgency.

At a meeting at the White House on Thursday with former secretaries of state and defense, Mr. Bush was warned several times that if he neglected to build support at home, he could face the problems that the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations faced with Vietnam.

Mr. Bush's response was to insist that he had a strategy to win the war in Iraq - something administration officials say they do not believe their predecessors had in Vietnam - and he repeated that in his speech.


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