But Bartlett sought to downplay reports that the administration was developing a timetable for the government to show progress, insisting that it was drawing up "benchmarks and milestones."
"The complicated aspect of the strategy right now is that we have to press upon the new Iraqi government to take more responsibility, but we have to do it in a way that doesn't crater the government or make it weaker as a result," Bartlett said on Fox News.
Rumsfeld said he thought the Iraqis were in "general agreement" with the US approach.
It is "a way ahead so that their parliament, their government can have a set of tasks that they need to do to get prepared to assume the responsibility for governing their country, and for providing security for their country," Rumsfeld said.
He said specific dates were unlikely to be attached to the tasks, but "you might find a month or you might find a spread of two or three months or a period when they think they might be able to do it."
Rumsfeld said everyone would like the process to move more quickly.
"But I think people have to be realistic," he added. "Our hope is we can assist them, the coalition can assist them, in assuming responsibility for their country sooner rather than later."
Sooner rather than later? WTF? I was kinda thinking we could just spend a few hundred billion more dollars and ruin the lives of thousands more Iraqi and American families. So we don't have to call it stay the course, how about gigantic money blood sucking shithole soon-to-turn to victory?