As President Bush welcomed Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for his first White House visit, the two clearly agreed on one issue -- the need for better security in Baghdad. In so doing, they tacitly acknowledged that the security plan they introduced six weeks ago -- Operation Together Forward -- is failing.
"No question it's tough in Baghdad and no question it's tough in other parts of Iraq," Bush said.
Serious violence in Baghdad is up 40 percent, from an average of 24 major bombings and shootings a day last month to 34 today, according to Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, spokesman for the multinational force in Iraq.
"We are determined to defeat terrorism, and the security plan for Baghdad has entered the second phase," Maliki said through a translator.
This "second strategy" will include more U.S. troops embedded with Iraqi police, a redeployment of U.S. and Iraqi forces from other parts of Iraq into Baghdad, and better protection, mobility and firepower for Iraqi troops.
Sources told ABC News' Jonathan Karl that those U.S. troops will come from other parts of Iraq, including from dangerous Al-Anbar Province. Another 400 troops are moving into Iraq from Kuwait.
"Conditions change inside a country, and the question is, are we going to be facile enough to change with it? Will we be nimble enough?" asked Bush. "And the answer is, yes, we will."
"What we have in Iraq is like a patient on the table with many wounds," said Kurt Campbell of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
"You have to make a decision, a strategic decision, of what's the most important thing to do," he said. "It's hard to imagine if this operation fails that, despite political consensus or greater political participation, it's very hard to imagine outcomes in Iraq that are stable."
Campbell added that it is likely there will be more casualties in the coming weeks and stressed the challenges.
"It's not like we've neglected this problem for months," he said. "The fact is that there are very few strategies that are going to work."
Splits Over Insurgents, Hezbollah
As Bush and Maliki met at the Oval Office, glaring disagreements emerged between the two leaders over certain policies in Iraq, the fledgling republic on which Bush has staked his legacy.
The Iraqi leader today discussed his national reconciliation plan, which includes granting amnesty for insurgents who have attacked U.S. troops. Maliki said he hopes this will "attract more Iraqi forces which have not engaged in the political process yet."
Bush does not approve of this plan.
Maliki also wants U.S. troops accused of crimes against the Iraqi people to be tried in Iraq.
During today's meeting, Maliki spoke frankly about other crises in the Middle East and has publicly criticized Israel but not Hezbollah, a group that has killed Americans in the past and which the U.S. government considers a terrorist organization. Maliki's political party, Dawa, has ties to pro-Hezbollah forces in the region.
"His refusal to condemn Hezbollah is painful. When it comes to the war on terror, we ask Prime Minister Maliki where does he stand? Which side is he on?" asked Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
Some in Congress have called for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., to revoke the invitation extended to Maliki to address Congress on Wednesday, unless Maliki condemns Hezbollah.
The administration said today it hopes that Congress focuses on the Iraqi security issue and not Israel when Maliki visits Capitol Hill on Wednesday. To the president and the prime minister, nothing is as important.
Jonathan Karl, Karen Travers, Jon Garcia and Brett Hovell contributed to this report