President Bush delivers a major address in a few hours from now (8pm EDT) on Iraq. The speech comes as the United States and Britain circulate a proposed U.N. resolution outlining the transfer of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government on June 30.
Five weeks before the transfer of power in Baghdad and five months before the U.S. presidential election, Mr. Bush is going before the American people to lay out his strategy for a free and democratic Iraq.
The president will try to convince the public and the world to look beyond the setbacks of recent weeks and focus on the future.
Spokesman Scott McClellan says Mr. Bush will talk about U.S. goals in Iraq, and why continued involvement is in America's best interest. "Tonight's speech is focused on our strategy for success in Iraq," he said. "The president will update the American people about the clear strategy for the way forward to a free, democratic and peaceful Iraq for the Iraqi people. And he will talk about the specific steps we are taking to achieve our goals."
The president will stress that he has a plan to bring stability to Iraq. Mr. McClellan points to the elements of the resolution now under consideration in the U.N. Security Council. He indicates the main points of that resolution mirror the president's five part strategy.
"He will talk about the political front, he will talk about the election front, the president will talk about how we are working to eliminate the security threats in Iraq, and he will talk about our efforts to reconstruct Iraq's infrastructure," said Mr. McClellan. "We are making great progress on that front, but there is much more to do."
The White House spokesman says the resolution is the result of intensive consultations and predicts it will be adopted. He says its passage will bring more countries into the coalition and endorse a leading role for the U.N. in the political transformation of Iraq.
"This resolution marks a new phase in the transition to democracy for Iraq," he said. "It recognizes the end of the occupation and the beginning of sovereignty for the Iraqi people."
The president will deliver the address from the U.S. Army War College, an institution that provides advanced classes in military and foreign policy matters for officers and civilians.
Aides say Mr. Bush will not announce a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. They say instead he will use the opportunity to praise the work of American troops in Iraq. Officials say he will also speak about the scandal involving the treatment of Iraqi prisoners under U.S. detention, an issue that has raised questions at home and abroad about the Bush administration's handling of the Iraqi occupation.
In this speech, and a series of events in coming weeks, the president will seek to put any doubts to rest. This campaign for public support comes at a time when the president's approval ratings have hit a new low, and the race for the White House remains very close.