After months of speculation, Gen. David Petraeus is finally set to testify today and deliver his report to Congress on the status of the troop surge in Iraq.
Although Petraeus is expected to call for a small drawdown in troops as early as December, the report will likely make the case that the United States should wait six months before a decision on substantial cuts in troops levels.
But a new ABC News poll of Iraqis shows widespread dissatisfaction with the troop surge.
The world will be focused on Petraeus' words, as they may determine how much longer American troops remain in Iraq.
President Bush is expected to address the nation later this week to announce changes, if any, he will make to the Iraq strategy.
In a letter to U.S. troops in Iraq distributed ahead of the report's release, Petraeus acknowledges that the troops surge has not resulted in political progress in Iraq.
In a possible prequel to Petraeus report, Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki told the Iraqi Congress today that Iraq is not ready to take control of the country's security — it's a key Bush requirement before a significant U.S. troop withdrawal can begin.
We need "more efforts and time," he told Congress.
The White House has pinned its decision on the future of the surge on Petraeus' report — he is the top military man in Iraq.
Not since the height of the Vietnam War — when President Johnson's administration summoned Gen. William Westmoreland to address Congress to urge patience from lawmakers — has so much been riding on the persuasive powers of a single military man.
In fact, Bush tried last week to help his case with a surprise visit to an air base in Anbar, Iraq.
Bush called the area one of the safest places in the country, but Congress is skeptical.
"There's no question there is progress in Anbar, but Anbar is not Baghdad," said Gen. David Walker, of the Government Accountability Office, which released its report last week on the troop surge.
Iraqis Bleak About Future
Iraqis have shared the skepticism, according to a new ABC News poll, which was conducted face to face in more than 2,200 households across the country. It was co-sponsored by BBC News and NHK-Japan.
The poll found that 47 percent of Iraqis now favor an immediate pullout of U.S. troops. Many polled said they do not believe their security has improved. In fact, 65 percent to 70 percent of Iraqis said the surge actually has made things worse; barely a quarter disagreed. And, in Baghdad and even in Anbar, responses about the surge were 100 percent negative.
But it is not just the United States receiving negative reviews. Iraqis are losing confidence in the national government, too and most said the living conditions are worse now than before the war.
Many see the future prospects grim at best. Less than a third of Iraqis expect their lives to get better next year. And just one-third think their children will have a better life than they.