Biden calls Bush Iraq strategy "tragic mistake"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush’s Iraq strategy is a “tragic mistake,” Sen. Joseph Biden, the chairman of the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Thursday.

“I believe the president’s strategy is not a solution,” Biden, a Delaware Democrat, said at a congressional hearing at which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was to testify about Bush’s plan to send 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq.

“I believe it’s a tragic mistake,” Biden added. “So Secretary Rice, to be very blunt, I can’t in good conscience support the president’s approach.”

Bush told skeptical Americans in a speech on Wednesday that he would send the extra U.S. troops to Iraq and, in a rare admission, said he made a mistake by not deploying more forces sooner.

Additional reporting by Sue Pleming