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2. Bush's choice of Gates to replace Rumsfeld, one of the main architects of the war. Gates was a member of the independent bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which called for the United States to reach out to Syria and Iran and 'strongly urged' a drawdown in Iraq.
3. A shift, completed this week, in the military's top uniformed leadership from administration loyalists to officers who are more concerned about the growing strains on the military.
4. Mounting evidence, in a variety of official reports in recent weeks, that Iraqi forces won't be prepared to take over from American troops in significant numbers until late next year at the earliest, and that Iraqis have made little progress toward political reconciliation.
5. Mounting evidence, most recently in a United Nations report, that the war against al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan is faltering, in part because Iraq is tying down so many U.S. troops.
6. Bush's low approval ratings and popular discontent with the Iraq war, which have prompted some legislators to reconsider their support for the president's policy as next year's elections approach."