Skip to comments.U.S. troop totals may be higher at end of surge (ha, ha)
Posted on 09/14/2007 1:16:01 PM PDT by tobyhill
WASHINGTON - Even with cutbacks promised by President Bush, the United States may wind up with thousands more troops in Iraq next summer than before the buildup of forces he ordered in January.
Bush approved the redeployment of five Army combat brigades and three Marine contingents between now and July 2008, but that does not account for thousands of support forces -- including military police and an Army combat aviation brigade -- that were sent as "enablers" and that apparently will stay longer.
For example, the headquarters staff of the 3rd Infantry Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, was sent in April to establish a new operational command area south and southeast of Baghdad. They were not counted among the original "surge" forces, and it's not clear how long they will remain.
There currently are about 169,000 U.S. troops in Iraq -- the highest total of the war. When Bush announced a buildup last January as the centerpiece of a new war strategy, there were 130,000 to 135,000 in Iraq.
In a visit to the Marine base at Quantico, Va., on Friday, Bush said commanders in Iraq would "have the flexibility and the troops needed to achieve the mission," and he urged Congress to heed the advice of Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, not to withdraw too speedily.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...