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White House 'outraged' by Iraq's treatment of American POWs Iraq

From Dana Bash
CNN White House Correspondent

President Bush

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- White House officials are "outraged" about the apparent "brutal and cruel" treatment of U.S. prisoners of war by the Iraqi regime, a Bush official told CNN late Sunday.

"This only stiffens the president's resolve against Saddam Hussein's inhumane regime," said the official.

The president was in his residence Sunday evening receiving constant updates from the war front.

Bush spoke to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House Sunday afternoon -- the first time he took journalists' questions since the military campaign began last Wednesday.

"If there is somebody captured -- and it looks like there may be -- I expect those people to be treated humanely," he said.

Bush said coalition forces are making "good progress" and that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is "losing control of his country." But he emphasized, "This war has just begun."

"All I know is we've got a game plan, a strategy to free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein and rid his country of weapons of mass destruction, and we're on plan."

A White House aide said the president will be more "visible" this coming week, likely traveling outside Washington to visit troops and their families.

On Monday afternoon, he plans to host key members of Congress to discuss a supplemental spending bill he intends to send to Capitol Hill this coming week to pay for the war.

The request, expected to be between $75 billion and $90 billion, has been a controversial issue over the last few weeks. As the House and Senate have debated the 2004 budget resolution, many Democrats and some Republicans have complained it is impossible to vote on a budget that does not account for the large price tag for war with Iraq.

There have been bipartisan complaints from Congress about being kept in the dark about the figure, while administration officials have consistently said it was impossible to predict how much the war -- and the rebuilding of Iraq -- would cost.

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