Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Friday an evaluation was being undertaken by General George Casey, the US commander in Iraq, and General John Abizaid, the commander of US forces in the Middle East, as well as the joint chiefs.

"I think we have to maintain our focus on what objectives we want for the United States, and then we need to give ourselves a good, honest scrub about what is working and what is not working, what are the impediments to progress, and what should we change about the way we're doing it to ensure that we get to the objective that we've set for ourselves," Pace said on CBS television.

"We're making our recommendations, we're having our dialogue, and we'll make the changes that are needed to get ourselves more focused on the correct objectives," Pace said, without specifically stating what would change.

'Unorthodox ideas'

The New York Times said that among ideas discussed were increasing the size of the Iraqi security forces, along with US efforts to train and equip them, and adjusting the size of the American force in Iraq.

"We're making our recommendations, we're having our dialogue, and we'll make the changes that are needed to get ourselves more focused on the correct objectives"

Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff

It said Pentagon officials stressed that the review extended well beyond Iraq, and that some unorthodox ideas on how to fight terrorism were being weighed.

The team involved in the military review includes Colonel HR McMaster, an army officer whose 2005 operation in Tal Afar has been cited as a textbook case in how to wage counterinsurgency in Iraq, as well as Colonel Peter Mansoor, who commanded an army brigade that fought al-Mahdi Army militia in 2004 at Karbala, the newspaper said.

Bush meeting

Meanwhile, President Bush and his national security team will be meeting on Monday with members of a commission trying to devise a new course for the war.

Rising US casualties have turned
American opinion against the war

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group, led by James Baker, a former secretary of state, and Lee Hamilton, former Democratic representative from Indiana, was expected to report its recommendations before the end of the year.

Members of the group are scheduled to have a joint conference at the White House with Bush, Dick Cheney, the US vice president, and Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser.

The group will have individual meetings with Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, John Negroponte, the national intelligence director, and Michael Hayden, the CIA director.

They also will talk with Zalmay Khalizad, the US ambassador in Baghdad.