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Bush spokesman: Iraq plan a 'non-starter'

March 8, 2007 at 5:10 PM

WASHINGTON, March 8 (UPI) -- Republicans in the U.S. Congress and the Bush administration denounced a Democratic plan announced Thursday to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq next year.

"It is apparent, once you look at the details of this proposal that the chief aim of Democratic leaders was to get Democrats happy, rather than the more important goal of providing the funding and flexibility generals need to succeed in their mission in Iraq," Bush spokesman Tony Snow told reporters on board Air Force One for the presidential trip to South America.

The U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans Health and Iraq Accountability Act announced Thursday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would require immediate withdrawal of troops if Iraq fails to meet certain benchmarks. The bill, in addition to setting the 2008 deadline, appropriates funding for the care of wounded soldiers and for military equipment.

Presidential Counselor Dan Bartlett called the plan "a non-starter for the president." He said it would "handcuff" U.S. generals.

U.S. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, the minority leader in the House, said the Democrats are trying "to micromanage" the war on terror, CNN reported.

Some Democrats are also unhappy with the bill. U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., a member of the Out of Iraq caucus, said the bill allows Bush to decide if Iraq is meeting benchmarks.

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