President Bush says the war in Iraq is “straining the psyche of our country” and it’s bringing down national morale. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley agrees, and expects an earful about Iraq from Iowans as he starts a 22-county series of public meetings across Iowa during the next week.
Grassley, a republican, says “Because of the increase in insurgency, there’s a real downer with the American people about the chances of success as we’ve defined it, hopefully moving troops out before the end of this year. It looks a little more bleak.” In a speech Monday, President Bush said he wants terrorists to know he will not pull troops out of Iraq as long as he’s president, saying it would send a horrible message to reformers and people who favor democracy.
Grassley says “The president is being very honest with the American people, speaking about the reality of public opinion in regard to it. Even among Democrats there’s a reluctance to say ‘pull out.'” He says many people are coming to realize the power vacuum that would be left by the U.S. troops’ departure could topple the fledgling democracy in Iraq.
Grassley says Bush has found himself in a difficult spot. Grassley says “I believe the president is trying to level with the American people and maybe there’s even a realization on his part for the first time, at least willing to speak about it publicly, that it’s tougher than he anticipated.” More than 26-hundred Americans, including 30 Iowans, have died in the war in Iraq, now in its fourth year.