The US Senate Majority Leader has defended comments in which he called the war in Iraq a “lost” cause and branded President Bush a “liar”.
“I have no doubt the war cannot be won militarily and that’s what I said last Thursday and I stick with that,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in an interview with CNN on Monday.
“General Petreaus has said the war cannot be won militarily. President Bush is doing nothing economically, he’s doing nothing diplomatically, he’s not doing even the minimal requested by the Iraq Study Group, so I stick with General Petreaus,” Reid said.
His comments have triggered angry backlash from the White House and several Republican congressmen, some of whom say Reid’s comments send the wrong message to US troops in Iraq.
“I do what I think is right and I think this war is headed in the wrong direction,” Reid said during the televised interview. “And I’m going to speak out as often and as regularly as I can.”
The Senate Majority Leader has been an outspoken critic of the president, in the past calling him a “loser” and a “liar”.
“I don’t back off that at all,” he said. “If you say something that is untrue to me and in the right circumstances, I will call you a liar. I have no regret having called him a liar, because he lied.”
In a speech in Washington Monday, Reid said Congress will send a supplemental war spending bill that would require the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq to commence by October 1 and be completed by April 1, 2008.
President Bush on Monday reiterated his pledge to veto any legislation that includes a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.