President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have acknowledged difficulties in the Iraq war, but they urged the international community to support the new Iraqi government.
During a 50 minute White House news conference, the two leaders said there have been disagreements over the Iraq invasion and mistakes made during the war. But they vowed that coalition forces and the new Iraqi government will succeed.
Mr. Blair said Iraqi officials told him repeatedly during his recent visit that coalition forces are needed and wanted and should not be quickly withdrawn. Mr. Bush said American military commanders would work with the as-yet unnamed Iraqi defense minister to determine the appropriate troop levels. Asked about their regrets in Iraq, Mr. Blair said coalition forces could have could have better anticipated the determination of insurgents to oppose Iraq's democratic process. He said the challenge now is to match that determination to make Iraq succeed. Mr. Bush said he regretted some of his language, such as taunting Iraqi insurgents to "bring it on." But he said the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was the biggest U.S. mistake.