Alabama lawmakers await Iraq update, hoping for troop withdrawals

Alabama lawmakers await Iraq update, hoping for troop withdrawals

WASHINGTON (AP) - Alabama Republicans who have backed President Bush on Iraq return to Washington this week facing big decisions on how much progress has been made in the war.

They'll also have to answer questions about whether to begin withdrawing troops.

Republican Representative Jo Bonner of Mobile says the patience of the American people has been worn thin and there's concern about not having a clear strategy in Iraq.

Democrats and Republicans have said President Bush's decision to send 30,000 more troops into Iraq has helped stabilize parts of the country.

But they say the advances don't have long-term significance if Iraq's divided political factions can't reach a lasting settlement.

Congress returns from a monthlong recess tomorrow and is slated to hear a long-awaited progress report next week.

Bush is signaling that he intends to stick to his Iraq strategy, but Alabama Republicans say they hope to see clear evidence that Iraqis are closer to taking over their country.

Alabama's delegation has split along party lines in recent votes to end the war, with Republicans consistently opposing Democratic proposals to begin gradually withdrawing troops.