Bush Says Troop Tours to be Reduced

ABC News' Yunji de Nies reports: President Bush announced this morning that beginning tomorrow, US troop tours in Iraq will be reduced from 15 months to 12 months.

"The progress in Iraq has allowed us to continue our policy of return on success," the President said from the Colonnade outside the Oval Office, "We have now brought home all five of the combat brigades and the three Marine units that were sent to Iraq as part of the surge. The last of these surge brigades returned home this month."

The President gave a brief status report on the Iraq war, now in its sixth year, laying out a picture of progress.

"We are now in our third consecutive month with reduced violence levels holding steady," he said, noting that violence there is at it's lowest level since the spring of 2004.

Mr. Bush said that the two governments are continuing to negotiate a Strategic Framework Agreement.  That agreement sets the terms for US Forces in Iraq, after the United Nations mandate expires on December 31, 2008.  The administration had hoped to have an agreement by July 31st, but has not met that goal.

The President warned that strategic gains are still reversible.  "We remain a nation at war," he said. "Al-Qaeda is on the run in Iraq, but the terrorists remain dangerous."

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