WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is stepping up emergency relief for victims of Pakistan’s devastating floods, hoping a highly visible dose of goodwill will soften anti-American attitudes in a country seen as vital to defeating al-Qaida.

It comes at the same time that a congressman who played a key role in revising the Iraq war strategy in 2006 proposed an independent review of U.S. strategy and goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared before the media to express America’s sympathy for the dead and displaced in Pakistan, where flooding has killed more than 1,500 people. The U.S. government is rushing in helicopters to help with rescue efforts, she said, and is providing emergency medical assistance, ready-made meals and fresh water.

“We’ve been working hard over the past year to build a partnership with the people of Pakistan, and this is an essential element of partnership reaching out and helping each other in times of need,” she said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., wrote a letter Wednesday reminding Obama that an independent review of Iraq strategy in 2006 came at a pivotal moment in that war, when mounting casualties and growing violence suggested to many that the cause was lost.

“Our nation is again facing such a moment in the Afghanistan war effort,” Wolf wrote.