Bush lauds defeat of Iraq pullout plan
United States President George W Bush has praised the defeat of a Senate measure calling for a US withdrawal from Iraq by late March 2008 and warned against a similar push in the House next week.
"Today, the United States Senate wisely rejected a resolution that would have placed an artificial timetable on our mission in Iraq," he said in a speech on Thursday to fellow Republicans after the bill went down to a 48-50 vote defeat.
The US president painted the pull-out proposals, mostly backed by Democrats, as a betrayal of US troops in the war-wracked country and said retreating from Iraq would invite Islamist extremists to attack on US soil.
Bush accused some in the House of Representatives of trying to use an emergency war-funding request up for debate next week to try to "micromanage" the war or "force a precipitous withdrawal" from Iraq.
Democrats who control the US Congress have taken the White House's 120-billion-dollar budget request for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and inserted a demand for the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq by September 2008 at the latest.
The Republican minority in the House had opposed the move, which also threatened to compel withdrawal even before September next year, if Bush cannot certify benchmarks for progress are being met in Iraq.
Bush, whose popularity has sunk to their lowest levels because of the war, warned that a hasty withdrawal would infect all of Iraq with "a contagion of violence" that could spread across the entire Middle East.