White House Wants Goals Met Before Considering Cutbacks in Troop Levels in Iraq

The White House reacted quickly to a report Saturday saying Bush administration officials are considering cutting the number of American troops serving in Iraq in half next year.

President Bush sees the progress report due in September by Gen. David Petraeus as crucial before deciding changes in troop levels, White House press secretary Dana Perino told FOX News.

"The purpose of the reinforcements that are moving in is to help Iraqis create the very conditions that would allow U.S. troops to begin coming home. Some goals must be met before that can happen," Perino said.

"We, of course, would like to be in a position to ring down troop levels, but certain conditions, as assessed by senior military advisers and commanders on the ground, need to be met to warrant that," Perino said.

Senior administration officials say the Bush Administration is debating decreasing troop levels to about 100,000, from about 146,000, The New York Times reported.

Bush signed a war funding bill on Friday that will fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through September, but hasn't signaled a change in his war strategy to end the current troop increase early.

Click here to read The New York Times story.

Some Bush administration officials pushing to reduce troop levels in Iraq include Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pentagon generals, the Times reported.

Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, supports Bush's strategy for additional troops and urges Congress and critics to allow time for the new plan to work.

FOX News' Bret Baier, Wendell Goler and Julie Kirtz contributed to this report.