In unusual step, Bush cites Iraqi bloggers

President Bush speaks to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in Washington, March 28, 2007. REUTERS/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In an unusual step, President George W. Bush cited a pair of Iraqi bloggers on Wednesday to try to bolster his case that his troop buildup in Iraq is making progress.

Bombings in Iraq continue to take a heavy toll but Bush insisted U.S. and Iraqi forces circulating in Baghdad were making a difference, slowly.

“‘Displaced families are returning home, marketplaces are seeing more activity, stores that were long shuttered are now reopening,’” Bush quoted the bloggers as writing.

In a speech, Bush did not identify them, but the White House said he was referring to an opinion article published March 5 in the Wall Street Journal by the two bloggers, Omar and Mohammed Fadhil.

They are a pair of Iraqi dentists who write an English-language blog,, and who met Bush in the Oval Office in December 2004.

The blog is generally sympathetic to the American-led mission in Iraq, although Mohammed Fadhil wrote on it last Friday that the Iraqi government needs to speed up reconciliation efforts and that the Bush administration “needs to revise the way it’s been handling and planning for this critical war.”