In an interview with "The Washington Post," Bush said he had instructed Defense Secretary Robert Gates to make a recommendation on ways to increase the number of U.S. Army troops and Marines.
Bush did not indicate how many troops could be added, but said he agreed with officials who have said that the U.S. military is facing strains due to numerous responsibilities, including the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The White House on December 19 said Bush is considering a short-term deployment of thousands more troops to Iraq in a fresh effort to establish security there. There are currently around 130,000 U.S. forces in Iraq.
White House budget director Rob Portman said U.S. costs to support the Iraq mission are projected to exceed $110 billion in the current fiscal year, or more than $2 billion per week.
(compiled from agency reports)
The International Coalition In Iraq
COALITION MEMBERS: In addition to the United States, 28 countries are Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) contributors as of May 31, 2006: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Fiji is participating as part of the UN mission in Iraq. Hungary, Iceland, Slovenia, and Turkey are NATO countries supporting Iraqi stability operations but are not part of MNF-I.
NON-U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL IN IRAQ: United Kingdom, 8,000 as of May 26, 2006; South Korea, 3,237 as of May 9, 2006; Italy, 2,900 as of April 27, 2006; Poland, 900 as of May 30, 2006; Australia, 900 as of March 28, 2006; Georgia, 900 as of March 24, 2006; Romania, 860 as of April 27, 2006; Japan, 600 as of May 30, 2006; Denmark, 530 as of May 23, 2006; All others, 1,140.
(Source: The Washington-based Brooking Institution’s Iraq Index of June 15, 2006)
RADIO FREE IRAQ: To visit the Arab-language website of RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, click here.