President Bush is frustrated by the slow progress in Iraq and lack of public support for the U.S. military there, The New York Times reported, quoting officials who recently attended a private meeting with the American President.
The officials, who participated in last week's meeting at the Pentagon, said that Bush seemed concerned about the effectiveness of Iraq's new prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, adding that he avoided expressing his own view of the Iraqi leader.
"I sensed a frustration with the lack of progress on the bigger picture of Iraq generally -- that we continue to lose a lot of lives, it continues to sap our budget," said one person who attended the meeting.
The cost of the Iraq War is estimated to top a trillion dollars, and the U.S. death toll hit 2,500.
President Bush also expressed frustration at the lack of public support for the U.S. military in Iraq, another source said, adding that the American President was especially irritated by a recent anti-American and pro-Hezbollah rally in Baghdad that drew a large crowd.
"The president wants the people in Iraq to get more on board to bring success," said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"I do think he was frustrated about why 10,000 Shias would go into the streets and demonstrate against the United States," he added.
American University professor Carole O'Leary noted that Bush expressed the view that Iraq's "Shia-led government needs to clearly and publicly express the same appreciation for United States efforts and sacrifices as they do in private."
The White House refused to comment on the meeting, which The Times said included Bush's war cabinet and several outside experts.
Recent public polls in the U.S. show growing opposition to America's presence in Iraq, and dwindling support for President Bush's handling of the war.
Suffering from daily violent attacks, deadly U.S. air strikes as well as other atrocities committed by American soldiers, the majority of Iraqis now want U.S. occupation forces to leave their country, believing that such a withdrawal can improve the overall security in Iraq, according to the findings of a recent poll conducted by the website World Public Opinion.
Baghdad violence kills 21
Bomb attacks killed more than 21 people in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday, police said, according to Reuters news agency.
Police said simultaneous car bombs killed more than 13 and wounded 43 others on Tunis Street in a crowded commercial area in central Baghdad.
Earlier Wednesday, a roadside bombing in a small market in eastern Baghdad killed more than eight civilians and wounded 28, security officials said.
"The bomb exploded beside those people who were just here to earn their living. They were just selling junk," said Mohamed Karin.
"An old man with his two kids were killed. What did they do? They were innocent," he said.
Two other bombs exploded in central Baghdad on Wednesday, wounding up to seven people, police said.
• Gunmen attacked the city council in the southern city of Basra, security sources said. Reports say the attack may be in response to the killing of a tribal leader.
• Police said they killed six rebels in Mosul, 390 km north of Baghdad.
Iraq has been hit by the worst wave of sectarian violence since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Baghdad morgue officials said they received 1,855 bodies in July, and that 90 percent of the deaths were caused by violence in the capital - the largest death toll since the aftermath of the Feb. 22 bombing of a major Shia shrine.
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