This would bring the Bush administration to the eve of crucial congressional elections which his fellow Republicans fear could weaken or even end their control of Congress.
The question remained whether Bush could stem the tide of voter unhappiness over the war in time. John Mueller, an expert in war and public opinion, suggested the president would have an uphill climb.
Writing in the review Foreign Affairs, Mueller said that casualty for casualty, US support for the Iraq war decline and had declined far more rapidly than for the Korean or Vietnam wars.
"And if history is any indication, there is little the Bush administration can do to reverse this decline," Mueller wrote.