THE BRONX - As some Bronx residents planned to protest the war in Iraq Wednesday, President George Bush touted successes and remained adamant that leaving is not the answer.

Bush strongly signaled that he won't order troop withdrawals beyond those already planned. "The battle in Iraq has been longer and harder and more costly than we anticipated," he said at a Pentagon news conference. "The battle in Iraq is noble, it is necessary and it is just. And with your courage, the battle in Iraq will end in victory."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "Democrats will continue to push for an end to the war in Iraq and increased oversight of that war."

The conflict, which began five years ago with the March 19, 2003 declaration of war and the March 20, 2003 U.S.-led invasion, has cost nearly 4,000 U.S. lives and roughly $500 billion. Local groups believe those figures are proof that the war needs to end.On Saturday, protesters are expected to join others in forming a human chain spanning 14th Street in Manhattan from First Avenue to 11th Avenue.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.