March 11, 2007

Bush Seeks $3.2B for Extra Iraq Forces

Bush Seeks $3.2B for Extra Iraq Forces
Mar 10 7:38 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- President Bush asked Congress on Saturday for $3.2 billion to pay for at least 4,000 extra combat support troops and military police forces that commanders told the president they need in Iraq.
The extra troops are in addition to the 21,500-troop buildup Bush announced in January. The budget revisions come as many lawmakers opposed to the buildup are debating funding for the war.

Bush is proposing to cancel $3.2 billion in low-priority defense items within his fiscal 2007 supplemental budget request to offset the need for these extra forces.

Cutting the programs, he said, would not require increasing the overall $93.4 billion in additional defense money he's already requested to finance this year's war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This revised request would better align resources based on the assessment of military commanders to achieve the goal of establishing Iraq and Afghanistan as democratic and secure nations that are free of terrorism," Bush wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Bush signed the letter on his flight Friday from Brazil to Uruguay, part of his five-nation tour of Latin America, that continues on Sunday in Colombia. The White House released the letter Saturday in Montevideo, Uruguay.

At a news conference Thursday, Gen. David Petraeus, who arrived in Baghdad in February as the top U.S. commander, hinted of the need to bolster the U.S. troop force.

Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the money would cover funding for 2,000 more combat support troops and 2,000 to 2,400 military police forces.

"Gen. Petraeus expects under the Baghdad security plan as well as other parts of Iraq, that the number of people going into detention will increase and so these military police forces will be for that," Johndroe said.

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