The Bush administration on Friday continued to seek support for the president's new Iraq military buildup. The US leader spkoe on phone with Jordan's King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Friday while skeptical members of Congress undertook a second day of hearings on Bush's plan, the AP reported.
Of Bush's telephone conversations with the Jordanian monarch and Egyptian president Friday morning, National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, "They talked about the way forward in Iraq, Secretary Rice's upcoming trip, efforts to make progress on the road map and important regional issues."
During a series of Capitol Hill hearings Thursday, the new strategy was attacked as desperate and even dumb, and many voiced frustration that there was no stated time limit on the build-up or a defined threat that the U.S. would withdraw if the Iraqis don't perform as promised.
On Friday, Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee in a bid to persuade lawmakers that the new plan will turn around a bloody conflict that has lasted nearly four years and claimed more than 3,000 American lives.
During Thursday's hearings, Gates and Pace insisted that the Iraqi government's new political commitment to take charge of their own country was the key change. "There are no guarantees and I cannot guarantee what the Iraqi government's going to do," Pace said. "I can simply tell you what they have said they're going to do. And if they do what they say they're going to do, then this will succeed."
Gates said the build-up was being measured in "a matter of months, not 18 months or two years."