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Pentagon Officials Say One Proposal Would Add 9,000 Troops In Iraq January 4, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Military News, US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–One option the Pentagon has presented to President Bush for bolstering U.S. forces in Iraq is an initial infusion of 8,000 to 9,000 troops, mainly to reinforce Baghdad, defense officials said Wednesday.

The officials, who discussed the planning on condition of anonymity because it is ongoing, said the option involves sending two additional Army brigades, or roughly 7,000 soldiers, to Baghdad, and two Marine battalions, totaling about 1,500 troops, to western Anbar Province, which is the center of the Sunni Arab insurgency.

The top generals in the Army and the Marine Corps have said publicly in recent days that any boost in U.S. troop levels should be for a well-defined purpose tied to a broad strategy for stabilizing Iraq.

Officials on Wednesday stressed that planning is continuing in advance of President Bush’s announcement of a new Iraq strategy, likely next week. One element of that strategy is widely expected to be an increase in U.S. troops levels, although the exact number and the duration of their deployment have yet to be disclosed.

Two officials said that whatever the exact size of the troop boost, it will not be realized immediately. Instead it will emerge over a period of a few months, with some combat units extending their current tours in Iraq and others deploying from the United States earlier than originally scheduled, they said.

As of Wednesday there were 132,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

CBS News was first to report Wednesday evening that U.S. military commanders have told Bush they are prepared to send two additional Army brigades and two Marine battalions. It also reported that an additional 11,000 troops would be on alert outside Iraq, including one Army brigade scheduled to deploy to Kuwait this month.

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