That has prompted Bush's Democratic critics to accuse the administration of trying to fool the American people into thinking he has responded to growing anti-war sentiment when he is actually making no fundamental change in approach.
Even before Bush spoke, Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi said he was announcing "a stay-the-course strategy that puts us on a path for 10 years of war in Iraq."
Bush said he had accepted Petraeus's proposal for the removal by mid-2008 of five of 20 U.S. military brigades now in Iraq, and that the pace of reductions would hinge on the level of success on the ground.
"This vision for a reduced American presence also has the support of Iraqi leaders from all communities," Bush said.
Bush also said it was in the best interest of Iraq's neighbors to strengthen the government in Baghdad. "And it means the efforts by Iran and Syria to undermine that government must end," he said, reiterating allegations against Tehran and Damascus that both countries have denied.