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Bush Defends June 30th Handover Date in Iraq - 2004-04-11


President Bush says U.S. troops in Iraq will stay on the offensive, following one of the deadliest weeks since Mr. Bush declared an end to major combat operations nearly one year ago. Democrats say the president's plan to hand-over power in Iraqis in less than 90 days might spark a civil war.

President Bush says U.S. forces in Iraq will not be defeated by what he called a small faction that is trying to derail democracy and seize power.

President Bush said, "Our decisive actions will continue, until these enemies of democracy are dealt with."

In his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush said he will not back-off a June 30th deadline for handing over power in Iraq, because, he says that is precisely what the enemy wants.

In the Democratic response, Michigan Senator Carl Levin criticized the president for setting that date, without involving the United Nations.

Senator said, "If we restore sovereignty to an entity created by the United States that doesn't have the support of the Iraqi people and the international community, there could be even greater violence against our forces, including the possibility of civil war."

More than 600 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq since the start of fighting in March 2003.

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