WASHINGTON – An Iraqi leader told President Bush on Thursday that the latest security crackdown in his country is working, but cautioned it will take more time. He thanked the American people for supporting Iraq.
"We are not finished, but we are doing better than expected," said Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a leading politician in the powerful Shiite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
Bush met with Abdul-Mahdi in the Oval Office for just under an hour. The meeting happened as House Democrats advanced legislation setting a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal despite a veto threat from the White House.
"I appreciate the progress that you're making," Bush told the Iraqi leader. "I know it's hard work. It's hard work to overcome distrust that has built up over the years because your country was ruled by a tyrant."
The White House sees stability in the Iraqi capital as the centerpiece of a political, military and diplomatic plan to winning the war. But Bush's troop buildup in Iraq comes just as many lawmakers and the public have pushed for troops to come home.
Bush last met with Abdul-Mahdi in the White House last August. He met with Iraq's other vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni Arab, in December.