"He believes this is as big as the Cold War," says a Republican strategist close to the White House. And Bush remains as steadfast as ever in insisting that he will pursue the Iraq war as a "central front" in the war on terror no matter how much the Democrats squawk.
Bush doesn't think those Democrats have the votes to block him in Congress, either. In addition, White House officials are increasingly convinced that the outcome of Bush's "surge" of additional troops into Iraq will be known by about August 1.
"We have the sense that we're going to know about the surge quickly," says a key Bush adviser. If the situation on the ground hasn't substantially improved by then, administration insiders expect that there will be more calls for an end to U.S. involvement in Iraq. Bush, however, will reject them, his aides say.
By Kenneth T. Walsh