President Says Troop Reductions May Be Forthcoming

By: Maya Kulycky, ABC News
By: Maya Kulycky, ABC News

After President Bush's unscheduled detour to Iraq on Sept. 3, President Bush finally makes it to Australia.

On his visit, he suggests that troop reductions may be forthcoming, Which is also an issue for Australians, whose discontent over the war is high.

On the heels of his surprise visit to Iraq, President Bush traveled to Australia for economic talks at a summit of 21 Asia-Pacific countries.

But even there, President Bush is unlikely to escape discussions about the the war. Australian Prime Minister John Howard supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq and says his country won't turn its back on the U.S.

"Australia will keep their forces in Iraq until we believe the Iraqis can reasonably look out for themselves. We'll remain very supportive," Australian Prime Minister John Howard said.

But Prime Minister Howard, like President Bush, is under pressure to change course-- 60-percent of Australians say it's time to bring their troops home.

But Howard thinks his perspective may get a boost when U.S. General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testify next week before Congress on the troop surge.

"I believe the Petraeus report will be moderately upbeat and that will be good and that will reinforce a view that I have and many people in Australia have--we shouldn't cut and run," Howard explained.

On Sept. 4 in Washington, the Government Accountability Office will weigh in on a hearing before Congress.

A draft GAO report released last week was grim, saying some security goals have been met but there has been little political progress and no evidence of a reduction in sectarian violence.

That report said that the Iraqi government has met only three of 18 benchmarks laid out by Congress.

President Bush has repeatedly asked Congress to reserve judgment until General Petraeus testify.


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