President Bush says the fight in Iraq has been longer and more costly than expected.
In the text of a speech he's giving later Friday about his policies in the Middle East, Bush defends the war, saying that while it's true that Saddam Hussein was not connected to the Sept. 11 attacks, the decision to oust him cannot be viewed in isolation from the attacks.
He says that in the wake of the attacks and with intelligence agencies around the world thinking -- albeit mistakenly -- that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. could not risk leaving Saddam's power unchecked.
Bush also says he sees progress in finding a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And he reaffirms the U.S. position that Iran should not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.