Hadley: The Surge Can Work

U.S. Soldier, Baghdad, Iraq,
A U.S. soldier takes a combat position as he patrols in central Baghdad, 10 July 2007.
AFP/Getty Images

With a growing number of Senators, Congressman and Americans losing confidence in the war in Iraq, the White House is trying to buttress it's case for seeing the fight through to the end.

President Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, led a media campaign Sunday to reassure the nation that there is reason for optimism.

U.S. and Iraqi forces are "now finally in a position to prosecute the surge, enhancing security in the country," Hadley said on Face The Nation.

Hadley also said President Bush's troop "surge" was already showing some signs of progress, despite the mixed picture presented in an interim report on the war's progress.

"If you listen and observe the reports of what is happening on the security side, it is working," Hadley told Bob Schieffer.

Regaining Congressional support for the president's war policies, however, will be a difficult task for Bush administration officials. On Thursday, the Democrat-led House passed a measure that would withdraw U.S. troops by spring. On Friday, two prominent Republican senators put forward a bill that would require President Bush to come up with a plan to dramatically narrow the mission of U.S. troops in Iraq.

The White House rejected the legislation proposed by Senators John Warner and Richard Lugar as premature and has promised to veto the House's withdrawal bill.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said on Face The Nation that he does not support the Warner-Lugar legislation because it is a Republican bill. Alexander said he was part of a bi-partisan group that wants Congress and the White House to adopt the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group as law. He said it is Mr. Bush's best chance to get widespread support for any war strategy.

"I think we need a new strategy," Alexander said. "I think most senators do and the country does and I wouldn't be surprised if the president does."

Alexander said leaders from both sides of the aisle need to come together to find a solution to the Iraq issue.

"If Harry Reid would play less politics and the president would be more flexible, we could have 60 votes in the Senate for the Baker-Hamilton recommendations," he said. "And the president could have a bipartisan strategy, and we could be sending a message to our troops, which is the most important message we could send, which is we are united in what believe you're over there to do."

But, Hadley said Mr. Bush is sticking to his plan to take stock of progress in Iraq in September when General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker present their full report on Iraq's progress to Congress.

"I think we will have had two additional months of our security strategy going forward," Hadley said. "Congress set a schedule which basically said, we need to do review in September. Everybody agrees. We'd like to put our policy there in a different place. Everybody agrees. Everybody also agrees that the starting point is to hear from our commanders on the ground."

Hadley said the administration has an orderly process set out for reviewing whether its Iraq strategy is working and that should be allowed to play out.

Hadley said the Bush administration is still pressing Iraqi lawmakers to cancel their month-long vacation in August. The White House, however, seems resigned to seeing the break go forward, and he joined other Bush aides in playing down its significance.

"We'd like them to stay in session and work on this issue," Hadley said. "They are now going to stay in session in July. They're going to work a six-day week session. We want to continue them to work on this legislation."

Hadley said work will continue outside the parliament through August on sectarian reconciliation and power-sharing.

The parliament shortened its usual two-month break under pressure but that has not appeased critics. They say Iraqi political leaders should not take a vacation that U.S. troops fighting in the blistering heat of summer do not get.