Crocker, a career diplomat with extensive experience in the Middle East who opposed the war when it began in 2003, is pushing for political change where progress has been elusive and the administration’s options are limited under the fragile Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Yet the diplomat will say that as poorly as al-Maliki’s government has performed, it would not be advisable at the moment for the U.S. to support new leadership or lobby for a different coalition of Iraq’s fractious Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, the officials said. Crocker also will discuss the challenges of corruption, reconciliation, de-Baathification and the difficulties of enacting wide-ranging legislation such as an oil law, according to officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal deliberations. Both Crocker and Petraeus will say the buildup of 30,000 troops, bringing the current U.S. total to nearly 170,000, has achieved some success and is working better than any previous effort to quell the insurgency and restore stability, according to officials familiar with their thinking. Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Crocker were in the Washington area on Saturday working separately on final drafts of opening testimony on Capitol Hill. Later in the week, Bush plans a national address. The assessments by Petraeus and Crocker are intended to be considered equally. But officials expect Congress to focus on military matters, particularly possible troop withdrawals. Unless there are changes, the increase comes to a natural end starting in the spring and continuing through the end of next summer. At the same time, officials close to Crocker pointed out that any revisions to the military strategy will have a profound affect on the political side. “Clearly, the political, economic and diplomatic elements are directly related to what happens with security and our involvement in it,” one official said. The officials disputed suggestions that either Petraeus or Crocker would recommend anything more than a symbolic reduction in troop levels and then only in the spring. Petraeus offered some insights into his testimony on Friday. In a letter to troops serving in Iraq, he cited “uneven” but quantifiable progress in the security situation and acknowledged that the political side “has not worked out as we had hoped.” “We are, in short, a long way from the goal line, but we do have the ball and we are driving down the field,” he wrote. It was perhaps the clearest indication he favors carrying on with the troop increase.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush’s top two military and political advisers on Iraq will warn Congress on Monday that making any significant changes to the current war strategy will jeopardize the limited security and political progress made so far, The Associated Press has learned. U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who has been less forthcoming than Gen. David Petraeus in advance of his testimony, will join Petraeus in pushing for maintaining the U.S. troop surge, seeing it as the only viable option to prevent Iraq and the region from plunging into further chaos, U.S. officials said. Crocker and Petraeus planned to meet on today to go over their remarks and responses to expected tough questioning from lawmakers – including skeptical Republicans. But they will not consult Bush or their immediate bosses before their appearances Monday and Tuesday, in order to preserve the “independence and the integrity of their testimony,” said one official. Petraeus and Crocker did have lengthy discussions with the president, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when Bush visited Iraq on Labor Day.