With American casualties in Iraq at their highest levels in a year, President George W. Bush said Wednesday the "events of the past month have been a serious concern to me."
At the same time, he said, "it remains critical that the United States defeats the enemy" in a long and brutal war.
"Our security at home depends on assuring that Iraq is an ally in the war on terror," Bush said in the opening moments of a White House news conference less than two weeks before Nov. 7 elections in which Republican control of the House of Representatives and the Senate is at stake.
He said that as those killing Americans and Iraqi troops change tactics, so, too, will the US military. He also sought a middle ground in terms of pressing the Iraqis to accept more of the responsibility for their own fate.
"We are making it clear that America's patience is not unlimited," he said. "We will not put more pressure on the Iraqi government than it can bear."