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Iraq Policy Fails To Impress Bush The Elder's Aides

President Bush's latest hold-the-line speech about Iraq didn't surprise former advisers to his father, who know the younger Bush very well. But it did disappoint a number of them.

"He's firmly convinced everything is going to work out in the end," says one of George H. W. Bush's foreign-policy advisers, who is critical of the son's Iraq policies and has retained strong ties to the State Department. "At some level, he wants to show that he is more macho than his dad, but the policy isn't working."

Despite growing congressional and public dissatisfaction, Bush on Tuesday threatened to veto any legislation setting a date for troop withdrawal. The adviser to the elder Bush predicts that the son will continue to resist congressional calls for a pullout and will keep American troops in Iraq until he leaves office in January 2009.

"At that point, if things go well, he gets the credit," the adviser says. "If things go badly, he says, 'If you had stayed the course that I set, everything would have been OK.'"

By Kenneth T. Walsh