The top U.S. military commander and top diplomat in Iraq have presented plans to President Bush that would not include further troop cutbacks after “surge” brigades are brought home this summer, according to news reports published Tuesday.

The New York Times reported that — in a secure videoconference with the Bush and the National Security Council — Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker recommended putting off troop-level decisions for several months after the departure of five extra brigades.

That timeline would leave decisions on major reductions of American troops from Iraq to the next president, the Times reported.

Bush announced no decision on the matter after the briefing. The Times, along with the Washington Post and other news agencies, quoted unnamed participants of the meeting in their reports.

Officials told the Times that during the briefing to the president Petraeus laid out a number of potential options, but avoided using the term “pause,” a phrase administration officials view as having negative connotations.

Instead, he described the weeks after the departure of the “surge”’ brigades as a period of “consolidation and evaluation,” wording used by Defense Secretary Robert Gates during a visit to Iraq in February.

The briefing occurred just after the fifth anniversary of the invasion and on the same day that the 4,000th U.S. death in Iraq was reported.

Officials also told the Times once the “surge” troops are out of Iraq, planners would conduct more frequent reviews to see when withdrawals might be allowed to resume.

Both Bush and Petraeus recognized the public and Congressional weariness about the toll of the war, the paper reported, but reiterated that the possibly of withdrawing more troops depended on if conditions allowed it.

Petraeus and Crocker are scheduled to brief lawmakers on Capitol Hill on April 8 and 9.

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