From the White House press conference on March 21
Q Sir, you said earlier today that you believe there's a plan for success; if you did not, you would pull the troops out. And so my question is, one, is there a point at which having the American forces in Iraq becomes more a part of the problem than a part of the solution? Can you say that you will not keep American troops in there if they're caught in the cross-fire in a civil war? And can you say to the American people, assure them that there will come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT: Bob, the decisions about our troop levels will be made by General Casey and the commanders on the ground. They're the ones who can best judge whether or not the presence of coalition troops create more of a problem than a solution -- than be a part of the solution.
Secondly, I've answered the question on civil war. Our job is to make sure the civil war doesn't happen. But there will be -- but if there is sectarian violence, it's the job of the Iraqi forces, with coalition help, to separate those sectarian forces.
Third part of your question?
Q Will there come a day -- and I'm not asking you when, not asking for a timetable -- will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT: That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future Presidents and future governments of Iraq.
Q So it won't happen on your watch?
THE PRESIDENT: You mean a complete withdrawal? That's a timetable. I can only tell you that I will make decisions on force levels based upon what the commanders on the ground say.