President George W. Bush will address the United States on Wednesday about his new approach for the war in Iraq, the White House said.
Bush is expected to announce an increase of up to 20,000 additional US troops.
Bush's decisions, more than two months in the making, are already drawing criticism from new Democratic leaders in Congress who say it is time to begin ending the war, not to send in more US forces.
Now in its fourth year, the war has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 members of the US military and many thousands of Iraqis and was a major factor in the Republicans' loss of Congress in the November election. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House leader Nancy Pelosi told Bush in a letter last week that "we do not believe that adding more US combat troops contributes to success."
White House press secretary Tony Snow said Monday that Bush "understands there is a lot of public anxiety" about the war. On the other hand, he said that Americans "don't want another September 11" type of terrorist attack and that it is wiser to confront terrorists overseas in Iraq and other battlegrounds rather than in the United States.
Snow said the White House welcomes a debate about Bush's new policy.
"I think it's important to get congressional support," the spokesman said.
Pelosi is cautioning Bush to think twice before proposing a troop increase in Iraq, suggesting the new Democratic-controlled Congress could deny him the funding.