Bush to announce troop cuts in Iraq

President Bush is expected to announce limited troop cuts in Iraq in a TV address to the American people on Thursday. It will be Mr Bush’s eighth prime-time address to the nation on Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003. His announcement follows Gener

President Bush is hoping to buy more time for his Iraq war strategy, which has gradually lost support among the public and an increasingly sceptical and weary Congress. 

In an 18-minute speech, to be broadcast live, President Bush is expected to announce that as many 30,000 U.S. troops may be pulled out of Iraq by July 2008. If this happens, the number of troops will drop to 130,000, the number stationed in Iraq before the surge in January this year. 

President Bush will also focus on security gains made in Iraq since the troops surge began.

But at the same time the President will acknowledge difficulties on the political front, especially regarding reconciliation and political progress in Iraq.

Democrats say bringing 30,000 troops home by next summer is not enough. However, they may be forced to compromise.  In order to make amendments to the defence bill to be debated in the Senate next week, they need the support of Republicans, the majority of who are opposed to a fixed timeframe for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The latest research suggests public discontent with U.S. policy in Iraq is high.  According to a new Associated Press poll, 57 % of voters believe going to war in Iraq was a mistake.  In a CBS poll, 71% of respondents said they were unhappy with the President’s handling of the war, while 30% said they wanted an immediate withdrawal of American troops.