Dem leaders plead with Bush not to hand off war to next president

Democratic leaders told President George W. Bush on Friday that it is not too late to change course in Iraq and pleaded with him not to hand the war off to the next president. "We believe there is still time for you to recognize that a change in strategy is necessary to repair the grave damage done to our nation's security," the Democrats wrote. The letter was intended as advance rebuttal to next week's testimony by Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador there. Petraeus and Crocker are expected to say the recent buildup in troops has succeeded in improving security but that more time is needed before more US forces can be withdrawn in significant numbers.