Sen. Suggests Bush Use 'Fireside Chats' for updates on war

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee suggested Sunday that President Bush use an FDR-style presentation to update people on progress in the war in Iraq. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) recalled that during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt often went on the radio in ''fireside chats'' to explain to the nation in detail the conduct of the war in Europe and Asia.

''I think it would be to Bush's advantage,'' said Warner, who served in the Navy in World War II.

''It would bring him closer to the people, dispel some of this concern that understandably our people have, about the loss of life and limb, the enormous cost of this war to the American public,'' Warner said.

Bush plans a speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on the fight against terrorism.

The Senate voted 79-19 on Nov. 15 to urge the Bush administration to explain publicly its strategy for success in Iraq and to provide quarterly reports on policy and military operations. A call for a plan to set a phased withdrawal of troops, which Bush opposes, was dropped from the nonbinding resolution when Republicans and some Democrats objected.

In an appearance Sunday on NBC's ''Meet the Press,'' Warner reiterated his opposition to a timetable for troop withdrawal.

Nearly 160,000 U.S. troops are serving in Iraq. The Pentagon has said that level will drop below 140,000 after Iraqi elections on Dec. 15, if they are no longer needed for additional security.