President Bush and key members of his administration will defend the president's newly announced strategy for Iraq during a series of public appearances Thursday.
In a nationallly-televised address Wednesday night, Mr. Bush took responsibility for mistakes made so far in Iraq and announced that he is sending more than 20-thousand additional U.S. troops to the country. The bulk of the troops will be deployed to Baghdad, while four-thousand will be sent to volatile Anbar province. Mr. Bush said the province is a base of operations for al-Qaida terrorists.
He said increasing U.S. support will help Iraqis "break the cycle of violence" and hasten the return of U.S. troops home. Mr. Bush said the Iraqi government is committed to stopping sectarian violence.
The president said the Iraqi government should take responsibility for the country's security by November. He warned that the U.S. commitment to Iraq is not open ended.
Mr. Bush will visit soldiers at Fort Benning, Georgia on Thursday, while Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates will testify before Congress.
Democratic lawmakers have sharply criticized Mr. Bush's plan to deploy additional U.S. troops.
Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois said 20-thousand new troops for Iraq are too few to end the civil war and too many more lives to risk on top of the three-thousand Americans that have already died.
House and Senate Democratic leaders plan to hold non-binding votes next week to gauge congressional opposition to Mr. Bush's plan.
Some members of the president's own Republican Party have also signified their opposition to the administration's strategy. Republican Senator Norm Coleman said it would put more American soldiers in the cross-hairs of sectarian violence. Republican Senator Sam Brownback, on a visit to Iraq, said he does not believe sending more troops to Iraq is the answer.