Surge Force Not Enough In Iraq, Gates Says
U.S. Military In Iraq Says Insurgent Attacks Intensifying
WFTV | March 8, 2007
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The original Iraq troop surge force of 2,500 won't be enough to stop violence in the war torn country, so Defense Secrety Robert Gates said Thursday he wants even more boots on the ground. The United States will send another 2,200 troops into Iraq, Gates said during a news roundtable in Washington. D.C. 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 also said Thursday that insurgents are trying to intensify their attacks despite the new U.S.-Iraqi sweep of Baghdad. "We and our Iraqi partners recognize that improving security for the Iraqi people is the first step in rekindling hope," Petraeus said. "The upward spiral we all want begins with Iraqi and coalition forces working together and locating in the neighborhoods those forces must secure." About 40 joint Iraqi-U.S. security posts have been established across Baghdad as part of the three-week-old Operation Law and Order, Petraeus said. Protecting the people, he noted, is an important component of counter-insurgency operational doctrine.
Petraeus said additional American forces will be sent to areas outside Baghdad where militants are regrouping. He said the U.S. troops will be concentrating on Diyala province, which has become a growing hotbed for suspected Sunni extremists who've dodged the security operation in the capital. He denounces attackers who've killed more than 150 Shiite pilgrims this week as "thugs without souls." However, the operation "will take months, not days or weeks, to fully implement," Petraeus cautioned, noting it "will have to be sustained to achieve its desired effect." Petraeus also stressed that military force alone is "not sufficient" to do the job. He said stopping the violence in Iraq is going to require political talks that he said will eventually have to include militants now fighting Iraq's U.S.-backed government.
Three soldiers died Wednesday in Iraq, military officials said. The Defense Department also identified eight previous casualties. The three soldiers who died Wednesday were on patrol northwest of Baghdad when a roadside bomb detonated near their patrol vehicle. The soldiers' names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The Pentagon released the following names of seven soldiers and one Marine who died recently in Iraq. Three soldiers died Mar. 5 in Baqubah when an improvised explosive device detonated near their unit. Killed were: Spc. Blake Harris, 22, of Pueblo, Colo. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas. Spc. Ryan D. Russell, 20, of Elm City, N.C. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood. Pvt. Barry W. Mayo, 21, of Ecru, Miss. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood. Army Staff Sgt. Darrel D. Kasson, 43, of Florence, Ariz., died Mar. 4 in Tikrit of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Bayji. He was assigned to the 259th Security Forces Company in Phoenix.
Three soldiers assigned to the 630th Military Police Company, Bamberg, Germany, died Mar. 3 in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. Killed were: Sgt. Brandon A. Parr, 25, of West Valley, Utah; Sgt. Michael C. Peek, 23, of Chesapeake, Va.; and Sgt. Ashly L. Moyer, 21, of Emmaus, Pa. Marine Lance Cpl. Raul S. Bravo, 21, of Elko, Nev., died March 3 during combat operations in Anbar province. Bravo was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Twentynine Palms, Calif.