The Associated PressCRAWFORD, Texas (AP) -- President Bush said Friday that although he is listening to the Iraq debate, his decision on how to oust Saddam Hussein will be based on fresh intelligence reports and on how to protect America and its allies.
"I am aware that, you know, some very intelligent people are expressing their opinions about Saddam Hussein and Iraq," Bush told reporters.
"We'll continue to consult" with Congress and allies, Bush said. "It's a healthy debate for people to express their opinion."
But, he said, "America needs to know, I'll be making up my mind based upon the latest intelligence, and how best to protect our own country plus our friends and allies."
Congressional hearings earlier this month examined various ways to achieve the U.S. government's stated policy of seeking a regime change in Baghdad, and a steady stream of news reports have suggested the administration is actively reviewing various war plans.
Some fellow Republicans have in recent days strongly counseled Bush against military action.
Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser under Bush's father and President Ford, wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week, "An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken."
Bush planned to meet this weekend with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and on Wednesday with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.