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The Iraq war is back! Bush will state his case again

March 10, 2008 |  4:06 pm

As the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq nears on March 19, the war has faded into the background of the presidential election campaign underway. For now.

But today, the war blasted its way to the foreground of the public's consciousness again, with a suicide bombing in Baghdad that killed five American soldiers.

And tomorrow, President Bush will head to Nashville to address an assembly of religious broadcasters with the first of several addresses aimed at focusing on "the way forward'' in Iraq in advance of Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker delivering their next progress report on the war to Congress in early April. Bush will be talking about the "God-given freedom'' for which the United States is fighting, the White House says.

A suicide bomber killed five American soldiers on foot patrol today after detonating his explosives vest in central Baghdad, according to the U.S. military. This is the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Iraq in more...

than a month and the worst since Jan. 28, when five U.S. soldiers died in a roadside bombing in Mosul.

"The president was invited by the religious broadcasters this year to come and give a speech,'' White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said during today's regular press briefing. "The topic was ours to choose, but the president -- one of the things he'll be talking about is... the God-given right to freedom, that is, given to everybody.

"And the president will talk about the importance of the missions that we have underway in Afghanistan and Iraq,'' she said. "But in addition to that, he will provide an update.

"As you know, we're getting closer to the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, we're getting closer to the Petraeus-Crocker report, which will come April 8 and 9 on Capitol Hill,'' she said. "And then we have the NATO summit, which is very important in regards to the issues in front of NATO right now, including expansion."

--Mark Silva

Mark Silva writes for The Swamp from the Chicago Tribune's Washington bureau.