Bush to announce conditional troop cut

President Bush will tell the nation this week he plans to reduce the American troop presence in Iraq by about 30,000 by next summer, but will condition those and further cuts on continued progress, The Associated Press has learned.

In a prime-time television address, probably Thursday, Bush will endorse the recommendations of his top general and top diplomat in Iraq, following their appearance at two days of hearings in Congress, administration officials said. The White House plans to issue a written status report on the so-called “surge” on Friday, they said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Bush’s speech is not yet finally drafted. White House officials were preparing the address even as the U.S. commanding general, David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker were presenting arguments to stay the course in Iraq in a second day of testimony on Capitol Hill.

The reductions envisioned by the White House mirror those proposed by Petraeus and would leave approximately 130,000 U.S. troops on the ground by August, roughly the level at which they were before Bush ordered the buildup early this year, the officials said.

In the speech, the president will say he understands the deep concerns Americans have about U.S. involvement in Iraq and their desire to bring the troops home, they said. Bush will say that after hearing from Petraeus and Crocker, he has decided on a way forward that will reduce the number of troops but not abandon Iraq, they said.

The address will stake out a conciliatory tone toward Congress but Bush will place more conditions on the pace of reductions to the pre-buildup level of 130,000 than Petraeus did.

At the White House Tuesday afternoon, Bush met with House and Senate lawmakers of both parties to discuss Iraq. He publicly pledged to consider their input. “It’s very important before I make up mind that I consult with leaders of the House and the Senate,” he said.

Bush will also adopt Petraeus’ call for more time to determine the timing and scale of withdrawals below the 130,000 mark and offer to report to Congress in March about such plans, one official said.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said Petraeus and Crocker had presented compelling arguments about “what appears to be trend lines that are pointing to success” and that “if you’ve got something that is succeeding, you want more of it.”

He denied, however, that he was offering a preview of what Bush would tell the nation. “Whether the president agrees or disagrees, we’re going to find out,” Snow told reporters on Tuesday.

Republican support for the Iraq war remains on shaky ground in Congress, epitomized by heated questioning Tuesday by GOP senators of the general’s recommendations. But support for the plan hasn’t been lost entirely.

Many rank-and-file Republicans say they are deeply uneasy about keeping troops in Iraq through next summer, but they also remain reluctant to embrace legislation ordering troops home by next spring. Democrats had anticipated that a larger number of Republicans by now would have turned against Bush on the war because of grim poll numbers and the upcoming 2008 elections.

If Republican support for the war holds, as it might for now, Democrats would have to soften their approach if they want to pass an anti-war proposal. But they remain under substantial pressure by voters and politically influential anti-war groups to settle for nothing less than ordering troop withdrawals or cutting off money for the war — legislation that has little chances of passing.


  1. Carl Nemo

    Bait and switch…! So this guy sends 30,000 plus troops for his surge tactic and now he plans on bringing them home by next summer, by then it will be some other protracting excuse as to why not…no?!

    Just as we do with an appliance that’s on fire, we need to pull the plug first before hitting it with the fire extinguisher. Bushco needs the funding; ie., power plug pulled immediately if not sooner, then the fire extinguishers broken out to bring these criminals to justice via impeachment! Are there any questions?!

    We simply cannot afford to play this b.s. game with these elected mafioso thugs any longer. To do so means the U.S. and it’s people are headed for the ashbin of history.

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Hey Carl, great comments as always and I have one thing to say to the Democratic Congress: Screw you traitors!

  3. bryan mcclellan

    Happy Birthday America ,You are now six years old..Too quote Gentleman Gene ,WAKE THE F$&K UP!!!We are the monkey wrench..or better yet ,the head space and timing tool..Go,or,No GO…PMFOT’s

  4. gene

    Well lets see…where can I start? How about the finish because its over as in “The End”. I shouldn’t be posting here because I swore (to myself….childish I know!!!) but I got pissed at Doug for having his warm fussy feelings about our so called “vitriol” language.

    I forgive you Doug for your warm fussy because in “The End” will it matter. Hell no!!! This country has been screwed to the point of NO RETURN. Bush, Cheney, Congress, American zonbies, clueless idiots of ALL types be fore warned, your time is almost up. My only regret is that I’m still here to watch this shit unfold.

    This nation has gone to far and it is impossible to regain what has been lost. Like Rome we also will fall from grace and will/have been destroyed from within.

    Hell has come ashore and is moving inland. I would wish everyone good luck but luck is not going to save your ass.

    Is their anything that will? Yes!! but if you don’t know the answer to that by now its probably TO LATE.

    Time for my ativan and a “very good” stiff drink and please don’t type some shit that will hurt my feelings.


  5. Carl Nemo

    Glad to have you aboard again Gene! I missed your vitriolic commentary… :) Don’t worry about saying you wouldn’t post here again. CHB is a great site although it’s an excercise of “we the members” preaching to “us the choir” 24/7/365. The reason I post is due to this site’s repected reputation for being a watering hole for political thoughts from grassroot citizens.

    When people do websearches for CHB commentary, or come on this site to read our comments just like the daily newpaper, it’s always my hope beyond hope we can find new converts to our way of thinking.

    Although unlikely, there may be a number of House Reps and Senators who come to CHB to get a “dipstick” sampling of what “we the people” are thinking. I’m sure many times they go “ouch”, but if so, that’s good too. Hopefully we motivate these entities to rise up above partisan politics and start doing what’s right for America and “we the people”.

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. Donnat

    How many times has Bush announced a troop reduction and never done it? I’ve lost count. Anyone who still believes he means to do anything with this F-up except hand it off to the next President, who they hope will be a Democrat so they can immediately blame him/her for their mess.