Democrats called this approach unacceptable and said they would pursue an alternative policy through legislation. They said their focus will be on restoring the strength of the Army and Marines and refocusing the nation's resources on fighting terrorists in Afghanistan.
But Democrats face an uphill battle. Lacking a veto-proof majority, the party has repeatedly failed to force Bush to accept any anti-war legislation, including one measure supported by many Republicans that would have required that troops spend more time at home between combat tours.
Further, the only legislative approach guaranteed to end the war would be for Congress to cut off money for troops while in combat — a position that not enough Democrats support and which Republicans universally oppose.
The lack of options has left Democrats with mostly rhetoric, as it becomes all but certain that the next president will have to manage the war once Bush leaves office.
"The current Iraq strategy has no discernible end in sight and requires the United States to spend additional hundreds of billions of dollars despite urgent national needs in education, health care, and infrastructure improvement, and when high oil prices have provided the Iraqi government with billions in additional revenue that could pay for their own redevelopment and security," the Democratic leaders wrote in their letter.
"This strategy is neither sustainable nor in our broader national security or economic interest," they said.
More terrible news for the troops and their families. I am so sorry that we, as a nation, cannot end the mental suffering of these people.