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American Forces Press Service

U.S. Sending 2,200 More Troops to Iraq, Gates Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2007 – The United States will send another 2,200 troops into Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.

Gates and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the troops would be in addition to the 21,500 troops that are going into the country as part of the surge. Gates made the announcement during a news roundtable here.

The cost of deploying the additional troops has not been figured into the fiscal 2007 emergency supplemental-funding request, the secretary said.

“What has happened is that subsequent to the submission of the supplemental, we sent a new commander to Iraq,” Gates said. “And he has come back with a request for an additional couple of thousand people to help oversee detainees.”

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, anticipates that, as additional U.S. and Iraqi brigades join the Baghdad security plan, there will be an increase in the number of detainees, Gates said.

“He wants more military police to help with that,” the secretary said. “That's a new requirement by a new commander subsequent to the submission of the supplemental to the Congress.”

Petraeus has made other personnel requests that have not yet been approved, Gates said. “They have not been reviewed and a recommendation made by the Joint Staff, and we will look at those going forward,” he said.

The numbers are not large, the secretary added.

At this early stage in the Baghdad security plan, the operative phrase is, “So far, so good,” Gates said.

The Iraqis are meeting the goals they set for themselves. Almost all of the personnel from the three additional brigades the Iraqis promised have arrived in the capital, Pentagon officials said. In addition, political leaders have stayed out of operations like the joint Iraqi-U.S. operation in Sadr City.

Both Gates and Pace stressed that operations are very early, but there has been progress. “The murders between Sunni and Shiia are down,” the chairman said. “The numbers of bombs that have gone off killing large numbers … has gone up.”

Those facts show that the Iraqi people want to stop killing each other “but that the al Qaeda wants to find ways to get them to start killing each other again,” Pace said.

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