December 21, 2004
President Bush held his last news conference of the year yesterday.
He pointedly acknowledged that Iraqi troops, trained by the United States, are not yet ready to assume responsibility for their country's security.
He said too many had cut and run when threatened and that is not acceptable.
He also urged patience and said that it will be a long struggle to transform Iraq into something resembling a democracy.
The president also promised to submit a tough budget to Congress that will halve the deficit in five years.
We'll see about that.
Congress likes its pork and can be counted on to add more spending to his proposals.
The question is will Mr. Bush use his veto for the first time and reject new spending?
He hasn't in his first term.
It's not easy being president.
No one gets his way all the time and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
But let's hope and pray he gets it right on Iraq for the sake of the Iraqi people, for the sake of changing the dynamic in the Middle East and for the sake of our service members and their loved ones, who are carrying on a proud tradition of laying down their lives for others.
I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C. Watch his television show, After Hours with Cal Thomas, on the Fox News Channel, Saturdays at 11 p.m. Eastern Time.