Military police increase OKd
The Pentagon has approved a request by the new U.S. commander in Iraq for 2,200 more military police to help deal with an anticipated increase in detainees during the Baghdad security crackdown, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Wednesday.
Gates also cited early indications that the Iraqi government is meeting the commitments it made to bolster security, although he cautioned that it was too early to reach any firm conclusions about the outcome.
“We’re right at the very beginning,” he told a Pentagon news conference. “But I would say that based in terms of whether the Iraqis are meeting the commitments that they’ve made to us in the security arena, I think that our view would be: So far, so good.” He was referring to the movement of additional Iraqi troops into the Iraqi capital.
Gates said the request for more military police is in addition to the 21,500 combat troops that President Bush is sending for the Baghdad security plan, along with 2,400 support troops.
House Democratic leaders, meanwhile, intend to propose legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by fall 2008, and even earlier if the Iraqi government fails to meet security and other goals, Democratic officials said Wednesday night.
The conditions, described as tentative until presented to the rank and file, would be added to legislation providing nearly $100 billion the Bush administration has requested for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the officials said, speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the plan.