Gates: objective in Iraq to buy time for reconciliation - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Gates: objective in Iraq to buy time for reconciliation

(Washington-AP) March 18, 2007 - Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the US military's role in Iraq is to buy time for a political reconciliation among Iraqis.

Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation," Gates says a House bill that includes a deadline for a troop withdrawal ignores the "circumstances on the ground" and could make it impossible for military commanders to do their work.

National Security adviser Stephen Hadley takes the argument a step further. He tells ABC's "This Week" that the September 2008 deadline is arbitrary and a premature withdrawal could turn Iraq into a "safe haven for terrorists."

But Senator John Kerry says the time has come for Iraqis to assume responsibility for their own security. Noting that the US invasion began four years ago, the Massachusetts Democrat says the timetable should not be called a "precipitous withdrawal." Kerry appeared on Fox News Sunday.

Posted 5:34pm by Logan Smith

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