President George W. Bush is "grieved" that the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq has reached 4,000 and assumes responsibility for the decisions he has taken, the White House said Monday.
"He obviously is grieved by the moment, but he mourns the loss of every single life from the very first that was lost in this conflict to the ones that are lost today," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.
"And he bears the responsibility for the decisions that he made and he also bears the responsibility to continue to focus on succeeding."
And by succeed, he means kill off another 1,000 Americans and 30,000 Iraqis before he leaves in 2009.
Vice President Dick Cheney, on a visit to Jerusalem, said earlier that the grim milestone "may have a psychological effect on the public but it's a tragedy that we live in a kind of world where that happens."
Specifically, a kind of world I helped create that I don't have to live in.
At least 97 percent of the US casualties occurred after Bush announced the end of "major combat" in Iraq on May 1, 2003.