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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bush Says.......

U.S. President George W. Bush and his generals appealed on Friday for more time to allow his troop increase to work in Iraq, but a key Senate ally said September was still pivotal for evaluating the strategy.

Bush criticized Congress for preparing to leave for an August break without passing a defense policy bill that, among other things, would provide for a pay raise for military personnel and more equipment for the war.

"I also ask Congress to give our troops time to carry out our new strategy in Iraq," Bush told reporters at an appearance with veterans and military families at the White House.

Bush spoke a day after Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, said while a widely anticipated report in September will indicate how the troop increase is progressing, a fuller assessment would take until November.

The report due on September 15 from Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, is considered central to the debate in Congress over whether to force the Bush administration to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq.

Bush has been trying to buy extra time for the troop rise he ordered in January, even though his own Republican party has grown restive and opinion polls show widespread public opposition to his Iraq policy.

He and his aides have acknowledged the September report would be significant, though at times they have tried to play it down as merely a progress report.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican and close Bush ally, said most members of his party considered the September report crucial.

"September is the month that we're looking at," the Kentucky senator said. "There may be various generals or various politicians or others who want to mention some other key time, but I think the key time for the vast majority of my members is September.
More at:http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN1034793420070720

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