WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush said Friday that militias are the biggest roadblock to Iraq's effort to getting a unity government up and running, a goal that would help bolster the president's sagging approval ratings over its handling of the war.
Bush spoke at the White House where he met with 10 former secretaries of state and defense from both Republican and Democratic administrations to discuss Iraq and the broader Middle East.
''Perhaps the main challenge is the militia that tend to take the law into their own hands and it's going to be up to the government to step up and take care of that militia so that the Iraqi people are confident in the security of their country,'' Bush said.
Iraqi officials plan to restructure police forces in the capital under the newly formed National Police force to rein in militias and death squads.
''It's important to have a secure Iraq in order for people to go about their daily lives,'' Bush said.
Just over a third of Americans say they support Bush's handling of Iraq more than three years after the U.S.-led invasion, according to AP-Ipsos polling in early April.
Bush also met briefly in January with former secretaries of state and defense to discuss Iraq. Among those who were there Friday was Madeleine Albright, President Clinton's secretary of state, who has criticized Bush's decision to invade Iraq.
''We've had our disagreements in this country about whether or not we should be there in the first place,'' Bush said. ''Now the fundamental question is how do we achieve our objective, which is a democracy which can defend itself, sustain itself -- a country which an ally in the war on terror and a country, which serves as a powerful example for others who desire to be free.''
The New York TimesLast Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16