8/12/2005

Bush Says He Sympathizes With Protester

Sympathy by politicians are a dime a dozen -- law

President Adds That Pulling Out of Iraq Now Would Hurt U.S. Security - Washington Post

CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 11 -- As a roadside antiwar vigil initiated by a California woman who lost a son in Iraq continued near his ranch Thursday, President Bush said that he sympathizes with her loss but added that agreeing to her demand to immediately withdraw troops "would be a mistake for the security of this country."

Speaking to reporters after meeting with members of his national security team, Bush said he has heard the voices of Cindy Sheehan and grieving family members who say the United States should leave Iraq because of the mounting death toll.

"I grieve for every death," Bush said. "It breaks my heart to think about a family weeping over the loss of a loved one. I understand the anguish that some feel about the death that takes place."

Nonetheless, Bush said, withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq before that nation's security forces are able to cope with the ongoing insurgency "would send a terrible signal to the enemy" that the United States is weak and easily intimidated

While Bush met with Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to discuss the war and other foreign policy concerns, a growing clutch of protesters gathered along the muddy shoulder of the narrow, winding road leading to Bush's 1,600-acre ranch.

Sheehan, who began her vigil Saturday, has been joined by several dozen protesters from across the country, including others who have had loved ones killed in Iraq.

"The president says he feels compassion for me, but the best way to show that compassion is by meeting with me and the other mothers and families who are here," Sheehan said. "Our sons made the ultimate sacrifice and we want answers. All we're asking is that he sacrifice an hour out of his five-week vacation to talk to us, before the next mother loses her son in Iraq."

Bush Says He Sympathizes With Protester

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