The &to=http://english.pravda.ru/war/2003/03/18/44603.html' target=_blank>Bush administration today will launch a public-relations counteroffensive against critics of the Iraq war, hoping to stem fast-eroding public support for the war and restore confidence in the president's ability to bring the conflict to a successful conclusion.
In a high-profile address at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., this morning, President Bush will speak in detail about the new strength of Iraqi military forces, even naming individual Iraqis who have contributed to the fighting, according to a White House official who declined to be identified. Bush will focus on "the ability of Iraqi forces to defend themselves and their country," the primary prerequisite for reducing the number of U.S. forces, the official said.
At the same time, the president will continue to argue against setting arbitrary timetables or making a sudden withdrawal, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, reports Seattle Times.
San Francisco Chronicle, the 35-page fighting strategy released Wednesday maintains increasing numbers of Iraqi troops have been equipped and trained, a democratic government is being forged, Iraq's economy is being rebuilt and &to=http://english.pravda.ru/accidents/21/93/375/15370_iraq.html' target=_blank>U.S. military and civilian presence will change as conditions improve.
"We expect, but cannot guarantee that our force posture will change over the next year, as the political process advances and Iraqi security forces grow and gain experience," it said. "While our military presence may become less visible, it will remain lethal and decisive, able to confront the enemy wherever it may organize." Bush's wife, Laura, said earlier Wednesday she "absolutely" would like to see an acceptable resolution there. "We want our troops to be able to come home as soon as they possibly can," she said during an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Sixty-two percent of Americans, in an AP-Ipsos poll taken in November, said they disapproved of Bush's Iraq policy. Thirty-seven percent approved of his policy — down from 43 percent in May.