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thedrifter
10-21-06, 08:56 AM
Bush weighs changes in Iraq tactics
Going is 'tough,' he says, but U.S. strategy will stay the same

October 21, 2006
BY DEB RIECHMANN AND KEVIN FREKING
WASHINGTON -- President Bush conceded Friday that ''right now it's tough'' for U.S. forces in Iraq and started consulting American generals to see if a change in tactics is necessary to combat rising violence.

But the White House said Bush wouldn't change U.S. strategy.

As of Friday, the U.S. combat death toll in Iraq in October stood at 75 -- on pace for one of the highest death tolls for any month in almost two years.

Among the dead is Eduardo Lopez, a Marine sniper and Aurora native, who was killed in action this week in Iraq. He was 21.

Bush met with Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, at the White House on Friday. The White House said Abizaid already was in town and Bush asked him over. Bush also will consult by video conference today with Abizaid at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., and with Gen. George Casey, who leads the U.S.-led Multinational Forces in Iraq, to determine if a change in tactics is needed.

''We are constantly adjusting our tactics so that we achieve the objective, and right now it's tough, it's tough,'' Bush said.

Meanwhile, a Camp Pendleton Marine will plead guilty next week for his role in the killing of an Iraqi man last April, his father said Friday. Pfc. John J. Jodka, 20, will plead guilty to assault and obstruction of justice, John Jodka said. Jodka is one of seven Marines and one Navy corpsman who were charged in the murder of Hashim Ibrahim Awad in the town of Hamdania, west of Baghdad. AP

Ellie