White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the speech will focus on the process of training Iraqis to take over security duties from U.S. and coalition forces.
McClellan said the United States is now expecting that enough Iraqi forces will be sufficiently trained to allow a possible reduction of American troops in Iraq some time next year.
Bush on 29 November, however, said an immediate withdrawal of the nearly 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq would be a "terrible mistake" because it would send the wrong signal about the commitment of the United States. Bush said he remains committed to defeating terrorists in Iraq so American forces can come home having achieved victory.
"Here's what I am interested in," Bush said. "I am interested in winning. I want to defeat the terrorists, and I want our troops to come home. But I don't want them to come home without having achieved victory. And we've got a strategy for victory."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also cautioned against an early withdrawal of U.S. forces, saying this could lead to more terrorist violence. Rumsfeld said the United States has so far turned over 29 military bases to the control of U.S.-trained Iraqi troops. Rumsfeld added there are now about 212,000 trained and equipped Iraqi security forces.
RFE/RL Iraq Report
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