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Bush sending thousands more troops to Iraq under escalation/surge than he claimed

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The escalation keeps escalating. More troops, more money, no sense of accountability:

The Bush plan called for sending 21,500 extra U.S. combat troops to Iraq - mainly to Baghdad - with the last of five brigades arriving by June. The estimated price tag was $5.6 billion. Officials have refused to say exactly how long it would last, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates had suggested that it could be over by fall.

In recent days a different picture has emerged.

The total number of troops required for the plan, while still uncertain, is climbing. When Bush announced the boost of 21,500 combat troops, the Pentagon said still others would be required to go with them in support roles. Its initial estimate of 2,400 support troops has doubled and may go higher still.

The cost also is rising. Administration officials conferred with lawmakers this week about an extra $1 billion, on top of the original $5.6 billion. The actual cost depends on how long the troop reinforcement is sustained.

When asked about the duration of the buildup, Gates has noted that funds for this purpose are only budgeted through September, which marks the end of the government's budget year. This week, however, it was disclosed that Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, a top commander in Iraq, has recommended that the buildup stretch into 2008.
In fact, the number of troops Bush will have to send to Iraq for his "surge," as we reported a few weeks ago, is more like double the number he told the American people. Bush is still operating like it's 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 when he didn't have to answer to anyone on Capitol Hill.

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