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Elizabeth Dole.


At least 10 Republicans in recent weeks have said the U.S. should start reducing the military's role in Iraq, with the latest challenge to the president's Iraq strategy coming Tuesday from Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

"Simply put, our troops have been doing a great job, but the Iraqi government has not," Dole, R-N.C., said. "Our commitment in Iraq is not indefinite, nor should the Iraqi government perceive it to be. It is my firm hope and belief that we can start bringing our troops home in 2008."

Up to 20 GOP senators were invited to the meeting with Hadley to discuss the war.

Earlier this year, Congress passed a 2007 war spending bill that identified 18 benchmarks for political, security and economic reforms. The list was based on promises made by the Iraqi government when Bush decided to send in 30,000 additional U.S. troops.

The legislation required Bush to certify by July 15 and again on Sept. 15 that Baghdad was making significant strides in meeting the benchmarks. If he cannot, U.S. aid dollars must be cut, according to the law.

The law allows Bush to waive the requirement to cut funding.

Based on that list, the administration is likely to argue some progress has been made in reducing the level of sectarian violence and militia control. Iraq also has established several, but not all, of the needed joint neighborhood security stations in Baghdad, as well as increased the number of capable Iraqi security units.

But the report also is expected to concede that several major goals have not been met: Iraqi laws to allocate oil and gas resources and revenue, and to address amnesty for former Baath Party members.

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