Many Americans are unhappy with the war in Iraq. President George W. Bush says he is dissatisfied, too. But he does not want the United States to change direction, pull out the troops or set timetables for withdrawal.
Bush came to the White House's East Room and delivered an impassioned defense of the long and unpopular war Wednesday, arguing that to leave now would mean defeat. His appearance came 13 days before elections in which Republicans fear Iraq could cost them control of the House of Representatives, the Senate or both.
While saying he was open to recommendations from a commission exploring U.S. options in Iraq, Bush cautioned, "The road to victory will not be easy. We should not expect a simple solution."
"Our goals are unchanging," the president said. "We are flexible in our methods to achieving those goals."
Bush expressed unwavering confidence in Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the U.S. generals running the war and Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, despite new strains between Baghdad and Washington.
"The ultimate accountability rests with me," Bush said. "If people are unhappy about it, look right to the president." He spoke at an hourlong news conference dominated by Iraq questions, reports AP.
Despite polls suggesting a Democratic takeover of at least the House, Bush said he was confident Republicans would prevail.
In Nov. 7 elections, Democrats could win the House of Representatives by gaining 15 seats, and the Senate by picking up six more. All 435 House seats are up for a vote, as are 33 of the 100 Senate seats. Bush's term ends in two years, and he cannot run again because of term limits.