US President George W. Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday, using the war zone as a backdrop to argue his case that the buildup of US troops is helping stabilizing the nation.
The president secretly flew 11 hours to Iraq as a showdown nears with Congress over whether his decision in January to order 30,000 more US troops to Iraq is working.
Next week, Gen. David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador in Baghdad, testify before Congress.
Their assessment of the conflict, along with a progress report the White House must give lawmakers by Sept. 15, will determine the next chapter of the war.
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