Bush was asked in an ABC News interview late Wednesday, October 18, if he agreed with a New York Times columnist's comparison of the Iraq violence with the Tet Offensive, a succession of battles that caused to turn the American public against the Vietnam War, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"He could be right," Bush replied.
"There's certainly a stepped-up level of violence."
The Tet Offensive, a campaign launched by the North Vietnamese in early 1968, was considered a military defeat for them.
However, the scope of the offensive shocked Americans and helped turn US public opinion against the Vietnam War.
Many Americans concluded that the Vietnam War was unwinnable or victory too costly.
Bush has strongly resisted comparisons between Iraq and the Vietnam War.
But with US casualties continuing to mount in the occupied country, Bush acknowledged the comparison.
Two US soldiers were killed early Thursday, October 19, in Iraq, bringing to 69 the number of US soldiers killed only in October.
Thursday's deaths followed a bloody day for the US military in which ten marines were killed in separate attacks across the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
Some 2,775 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the US invasion-turned-occupation of Iraq in March 2003, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures.
Bush said that the insurgents – the US term for the Iraqi resistance fighters – were trying to "to inflict enough damage that we'd leave."
"First of all, Al-Qaeda is still very active in Iraq. They are dangerous. They are lethal. They are trying to not only kill American troops, but they're trying to foment sectarian violence," he said.
"They believe that if they can create enough chaos, the American people will grow sick and tired of the Iraqi effort and will cause (the) government to withdraw," Bush said.
Despite the rising US fatalities in Iraq, the Bush administration insisted that it would continue its "stay-the-course" strategy in the occupied Arab country.
"The strategy is to win," White House spokesman Tony Snow said on Wednesday in the southern state of North Carolina.
"As everybody says, correctly, we've got to win. And that comes at a cost."
"The president understands not only the difficulty of it, but he grieves for the people who have served and served with valor," said Snow, who told reporters that US forces "do believe in the mission."
In the television interview, Bush also expressed support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki but warned that his patience is not infinite.
"In my judgment, Maliki has got what it takes to lead a unity government," Bush said.
"I'm patient. I'm not patient forever. And I'm not patient with dawdling. But I recognize the degree of difficulty of the task, and therefore, say to the American people, we won't cut and run," he said.
Bush ruled out a complete troop withdrawal as long as he is president, through January 2009.
However, a high-powered panel named by the US Congress to assess policy options in Iraq is weighing recommendations that could deal a blow to Bush's "stay-the-course" policy in Iraq.
A source associated with the Iraq Study Group confirmed media reports that options under consideration include a phased withdrawal of US soldiers from Iraq and an opening of diplomatic channels with Iran and Syria.
Both steps would represent a major break with Bush's policies.
The 10-member panel of bipartisan heavyweights will deliver its report sometime after the November 7 mid-term elections, according to its leader, respected former secretary of state James Baker.Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16