Bush Says He’s in Control of Iraq Policy
President Bush, rejecting criticism that he has lost control of his Iraq policy amid staff infighting, said Monday that “the person who is in charge is me” and that his strategy is producing solid results.
In a series of interviews, Bush addressed accusations that his administration had misjudged postwar Iraq, did not have an exit strategy and had gotten bogged down in turf fights.
The problem was underlined when a senior Senate Republican, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, said Sunday, “The president has to be president.”
“If the people don’t think I’m doing my job, they’ll find somebody” else, Bush told Tribune Broadcasting. “That’s my attitude.”
Bush sat down for a series of brief interviews with regional TV outlets, trying to reach beyond Washington with his message.
Taking on his critics, he said: “They’re just wrong about our strategy. We’ve had a strategy from the beginning. [L. Paul] Jerry Bremer [the U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq] is running the strategy and we are making very good progress about the establishment of a free Iraq.
“And the person who is in charge is me,” Bush said.
He also rejected suggestions that he should have waited for more allies to join the United States before invading Iraq.