by Brooke Hart
A high-ranking Republican is calling on President Bush to begin pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq.
Virginia's John Warner, just back from Iraq, held a news conference Thursday where he proposed a troop drawdown to begin by Christmas.
"We simply cannot as a Nation stand and put our troops at continuous risk with a loss of life and limb without beginning to take some decisive action which will get everybody's attention," said Warner.
Warner's call followed a new U.S. intelligence report that Iraq's government is failing.
Unable to govern effectively and bound to get shakier over the next six to twelve months.
It does cite security gains, some Al Qaeda captives now in jail, for instance, but calls progress uneven and says overall violence remains high.
"If we were to imagine this continuing you have to say at some point you would have to say the surge has failed," said Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution.
The Bush team however is refusing to say that.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Johndroe said Thursday, "This suggests of course there is more work to be done but that this effort is headed in right direction."
President Bush this week stood by the surge and Iraq's embattle Prime Minister.
The President said, "Prime Minister Maliki is a good guy, a good man with a difficult job."
Difficult is what's ahead for 180 marines from Camp Lejeune and their families.
They leave for a 7-month tour in Iraq, 300 more Marines and Sailors will follow this weekend.