President Bush says he believes the United States can still win the war in Iraq, despite a new administration report on the war that indicates Iraq has achieved limited military and political progress.
Mr. Bush presented the report Thursday at the White House, saying that he is not surprised progress is slow. But he said there have been improvements on security in Iraq, and he urged Congress and the public to withhold judgment on his strategy for a few more months.
The interim report shows satisfactory progress on eight of 18 goals or benchmarks, unsatisfactory results in another eight areas and mixed results in two. It says there has been little progress on key political issues, such as sharing oil revenues and political reconciliation.
Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia, who co-sponsored legislation calling for the report, said the assessment shows the Iraqi government is not providing leadership worthy of the "sacrifice of US forces."
In May, Congress authorized continued funding for the Iraq war with the provision that the administration certify by July 15th and again on September 15th that the Iraqis are making progress toward certain benchmarks.
Mr. Bush said Thursday that the report is preliminary and that he will wait until a September assessment to see if his strategy needs to be reconsidered.
The president continued to stress the risks of withdrawing US troops before stability has been achieved, saying it would be dangerous for Iraq, the region and the United States. He specifically warned that Iraq would suffer mass killings on "a horrific scale."