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Old 07-12-2007, 07:11 AM   #1
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article about Iraq

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issued Thursday, with unity within President Bush's Republican party fraying, not to mention civility.

"Wimps," House Republican leader John Boehner calls GOP defectors in the Senate _ a growing breed as public opinion polls chart ever-deepening opposition to the war and a climbing U.S. casualty count 16 months before the 2008 elections.

With both houses of Congress debating war-related legislation, lawmakers awaited the Bush administration's assessment Thursday of political, economic and military progress made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government.

Administration officials said in advance the report concludes that the Iraqis have failed to pass long-promised laws that the administration has called key to national cohesion and economic recovery, such as legislation that would fairly divide Iraq's oil resources.

But officials said the report also would show progress in several areas, such as a drop in sectarian killings in Baghdad and opposition to al-Qaida terrorists by tribal sheiks in Anbar province.

Predictably, Democrats say the findings are proof the war effort is failing, while Republicans say the limited progress shows hope and that lawmakers should not lose faith.

Boehner, R-Ohio, made his "wimps" remark in a private meeting Wednesday with rank-and-file Republicans _ ironically at nearly the same moment that several GOP senators beseeched the White House without apparent success for a quick change in course on Iraq.

"I'm hopeful they (White House officials) change their minds," Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said after a meeting that President Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, held with several Republicans in the Capitol.
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