<!--:es-->World more dangerous if U.S. leaves Iraq too soon<!--:-->

World more dangerous if U.S. leaves Iraq too soon

WASHINGTON – Back from a surprise visit to Iraq and a meeting with its new prime minister, President Bush reiterated U.S. support for the newly named Iraqi government and rejected calls for a quick drawdown of American troops.

“The policy of the U.S. government is to stand with this (Iraqi) government and help them succeed,” he said at a news conference in the Rose Garden.

“Iraqi and coalition forces are still on the offense,” Bush said. He cited raids of suspected terrorist targets. “We got new intelligence from those raids which will enable us to keep the pressure on the foreigners and the local Iraqis who are killing innocent lives.”

On Tuesday, Bush assured Iraqis in a surprise visit to Baghdad that the United States stands with them and their new government.

Facing the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, Bush over the past several weeks has sought to bolster support among his conservative base and for the the war in Iraq.

In a USA Today/Gallup poll earlier this month, Bush’s approval rating stood at 38 percent. A Harris-Wall Street Journal poll last month showed 29 percent of Americans approved of the president’s performance

Intelligence-gathering breakthroughs

In response to a reporter’s question following his prepared statement, Bush appeared to dismiss talk of a troop drawdown in Iraq. “If we pull out of Iraq before we complete the mission, we will make the world a more dangerous place,” he said.

“My message to the enemy is, don’t count on us leaving before we succeed,” Bush said.