WASHINGTON - The White House is rethinking its diplomatic options in Iraq, but won't reconsider its military strategy before an assessment from war commanders is presented in September, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
President Bush's top war advisers, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute and Stephen Hadley, went to Capitol Hill to assure Republican supporters that a precipitate pullout of troops won't happen. Sens. Trent Lott of Mississippi, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona, Jon Kyl of Arizona and others met with the two advisers in Vice President Dick Cheney's office off the Senate floor.
Graham said members were told that Bush would back them in fiercely opposing legislation by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., that would order troop withdrawals to start in 120 days.
Bush himself said Tuesday he had no intention of succumbing to political pressure. During a visit to Parma, Ohio on Tuesday, he reiterated that troop levels in Iraq "will be decided by our commanders on the ground, not by political figures in Washington, D.C."