Pelosi, White House clash: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi contended Friday that President Bush is rushing new troops to Iraq and betting that Congress won't cut off funds once they're in battle. The White House called her assertion "poisonous." In an exchange of harsh rhetoric that underscored the intensity of the political fight, Pelosi, D-Calif., said the war should not be "an obligation of the American people in perpetuity." "The president knows that because the troops are in harm's way, that we won't cut off the resources. That's why he's moving so quickly to put them in harm's way," Pelosi said on ABC's "Good Morning America." When asked whether she thought the president manipulated the deployments to avoid congressional action, Pelosi said she hoped he did not but thought "he could have told us about it sooner. ... We found out about it as the troops were going in." White House spokeswoman Dana Perino retorted that lawmakers are involved in a "sound bite war" against Bush, counter to Democrats' promises of bipartisanship. Meanwhile, support was building around a resolution that would oppose Bush's plans for more troops to Iraq. Senate Democrats, backed by Republicans Olympia Snowe of Maine and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, unveiled legislation this week that would criticize Bush's decision.
Top aide taken in raid: U.S. and Iraqi forces swooped into a mosque complex in east Baghdad on Friday and detained a top aide to radical anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the latest in a series of operations aimed at eviscerating the leadership of the Mahdi Army militia. The raid drew immediate criticism from the Iraqi government, which complained it had not been consulted. An aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who owes his job as Iraqi leader to al-Sadr's backing, said the operation was not part of a coming joint U.S.-Iraq security drive. Under the plan, to which President Bush has committed an additional 21,500 American troops, U.S. commanders have been promised a freer hand against both Sunni insurgents and Shiite militiamen. Abdul-Hadi al-Darraji was captured in the early morning raid and his bodyguard was killed.
Casualty update: As of Friday, at least 3,030 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
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