Australian Prime Minister John Howard assured US President George W. Bush on Wednesday that his country's troops will remain in Iraq at their current level for the foreseeable future. "Our commitment to Iraq remains," said Howard, one of Bush's few remaining staunch war allies, after meetings between the two leaders. "This is not the time for any proposals of a scaling down of Australian forces." Bush, his voice rising before he had even been asked a question about the war, forcefully defended the troop buildup he ordered at the beginning of the year. "If I didn't think we could succeed, I wouldn't have our troops there," he said.