Day of Reckoning for Bush's Iraq Strategy

However, there is no "Petraeus report," just his testimony before Congress. The "report" is the White House's assessment of what has been done, and not done, to meet the 18 benchmarks defined in the war funding bill passed by Congress earlier this year.

The White House is expected to send that benchmark report to Congress Friday.

Bush to Address the Nation

President Bush is expected to address the nation on Thursday to announce changes, if any, he will make to his Iraq strategy.

A top White House official tells ABC News the president's speech will outline the course of action the president plans to take in Iraq, based on the recommendations of Petraeus, other military leaders, his national security team, and congressional leaders.

Bush is also expected to offer a "broader context" in terms of the Middle East region and the long-term vision for U.S. involvement in Iraq.

He is largely expected to appeal to Congress and the nation that his troop escalation plan has helped to secure the country, and the nation needs to stay the course in Iraq.

To boost his case, Bush made a surprise visit to an air base in Anbar, Iraq last week. Bush called the area one of the safest places in the country.

Iraqi Leader: We Need More Time

Iraqi President Nouri al Maliki told the Iraqi Congress Monday that Iraq's forces are not ready to take control of the country's security.

Bush has made clear that the ability of the Iraqi government to secure the country is a key requirement before any significant U.S. troop withdrawal can begin.

We need "more efforts and time," Maliki told Congress.

In addition, a new ABC News polls finds Iraqis bleak about their future.

Forty-seven percent of Iraqis now favor an immediate pullout of U.S. troops, according to the poll co-sponsored by BBC News and NHK-Japan, and conducted face to face in more than 2,200 households across Iraq.

Many Iraqis 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.

The poll also found Iraqis are losing confidence in their own national government. Most said the living conditions are worse now than before the war.

Tension Among Military Leadership

There is consensus among the military leadership about beginning the drawdown of the surge but beyond that there is some real tension about the way forward.

The Joint Chiefs, particularly Army Chief of Staff George Casey, and CENTCOM have argued for a quicker reduction in U.S. force levels and to change the central mission.

The current counterinsurgency mission is for U.S. troops to protect the population through means such as patrolling the streets and having a visible presence in the neighborhoods.

Casey and CENTCOM commander Adm. William "Fox" Fallon have argued that the central mission should be training and supporting the Iraqi troops. Petraeus' staff has dismissed this as the "been-there-done-that" strategy.

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