Bush says 'I'm the decision-maker' on Iraq

Updated: 2007-01-27 09:13

President George W. Bush rebuffed congressional criticism of his Iraq plan on Friday by insisting "I'm the decision-maker" and warned Iranians would be stopped if they attacked U.S. or Iraqi forces inside Iraq.

U.S. Lieutenant General David Petraeus (L) watches on during his meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, January 26, 2007. The U.S. Senate on Friday confirmed Army Gen. David Petraeus as the next commander of U.S. forces in Iraq even though he supports a boost in American troops that many senators oppose. [Reuters]

With Americans overwhelmingly opposing Bush's strategy to send 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters that military officials were trying to get past logistical constraints to accelerate the deployment of new troops to Iraq.

Gates criticized congressional efforts to formally oppose the plan.

"It's pretty clear that a resolution that in effect says that the general going out to take command of the arena shouldn't have the resources he thinks he needs to be successful certainly emboldens the enemy," Gates said.

Bush spoke to reporters as he met Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus in the Oval Office shortly after the general was confirmed by the Senate 81-0 to lead U.S. forces in Iraq.

Petraeus will carry out a plan that has drawn sharp criticism from lawmakers who worry Bush is deepening U.S. involvement in Iraq at a time when Americans are weary of a nearly 4-year-old war that shows no sign of winding down.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat and vocal critic of Bush, led a congressional delegation on a quick fact-finding mission to Baghdad.

Bush, asked about congressional resolutions being prepared in both the House of Representatives and the Senate opposing his plan, made clear he had the authority to carry it out.

"One of the things I've found in Congress is that most people recognize that failure would be a disaster for the United States. And in that I'm the decision-maker, I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster," Bush said.

Bush said he realized there was skepticism but that "some are condemning a plan before it's even had a chance to work."

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