US Democrats will reject President George W Bush's plan to withdraw some troops from Iraq, accusing him of an "endless and unlimited military presence.



In excerpts from a Democratic rebuttal to Mr Bush's prime-time presidential address, the designated party spokesman Senator Jack Reed vowed his party would redefine the scope of the US mission in Iraq.

"Tonight, a nation eager for change in Iraq heard the President speak about his plans for the future," Senator Reed will say.

"But once again, the President failed to provide either a plan to successfully end the war or a convincing rationale to continue it."

Senator Reed said Democrats would do what they believe to be in the best interests of the United States and "redefine" the US mission in Iraq.

"Do we continue to heed the President's call that all Iraq needs is more time, more of our money, and the indefinite presence of 130,000 American troops — exactly the same number as nine months ago?"

"An endless and unlimited military presence in Iraq is not an option."

Battle of spin

Senator Reed's remarks were released by Democrats to counter advance excerpts of the speech Bush was due to give at 9 pm (1100 AEST Friday), which has also been previewed by the White House.

Mr Bush will cite signs of political and security progress and embrace plans to pull out an estimated 21,500 US combat troops by mid-2008, in line with recommendations from his war commander General David Petraeus.

"Now, because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq, we can begin seeing troops come home," Bush was to say, according to the excerpts.

"Some say the gains we are making in Iraq come too late," the president was to add.

"They are mistaken. It is never too late to deal a blow to Al-Qaeda. It is never too late to advance freedom. And it is never too late to support our troops in a fight they can win."

Mr Bush will acknowledge US forces would be in Iraq "beyond his presidency" while urging Iraqis to pressure their government to break a logjam on legislation to foster national unity.

Democrats to reject Iraq plan