Locals React to Possible Military Increase


President Bush has called for an overall increase of the Army and Marines to fight global terror and he's asked new Defense Secretary Robert Gates to come up with a plan to make that happen.

"We are going to be in long struggle against radicals and extremists and we must make sure our military has the capability to stay in the fight," President Bush said.

Wednesday, during his year-end media session, the president said he hasn't decided if putting more troops in Iraq would bring stability and security throughout the country.

He said that the United States can be "smarter" about deployments, and will be asking more from Iraqi partners.

The president's request of Robert Gates to find a plan is not a new issue.
During his confirmation hearings, Gates was asked about his role in the Iraq Study Group.

"We inquired of the commanders whether they had enough troops, whether a significant increase might be necessary and I would say the answer we received was that they thought they had adequate troops," Gates said.

But he went on to say the question should be asked again.

"Inquiring about this again is clearly something and it may be that the secretary of defense might get a better answer."

Now the newly appointed Defense Secretary will have his chance.

Gates arrived in Baghdad Wednesday to discuss whether more troops are needed.
So far no decisions have been made.

Local residents have mixed reactions to the potential increase.

"With short military I mean things could happen and we wouldn't have any help," Dwayne Beran, a Brazos County resident said.

"I think they got enough people there already," one local resident said. "I think they need to come home."

"I think the only way to gain some peace in Iraq is to increase the forces," Brazos County resident Richard Harris said.

During his speech Wednesday, the president also conceded that insurgents slowed U.S. efforts at "establishing security and stability" in Iraq.

He said it is "difficult" knowing that his decisions have caused "young men and women to lose their lives."

However, the president insisted that the U.S. must "and will" prevail in the war on terror, saying that it "is the calling of
our generation."

Top generals say a boost of forces may not work until political and economic changes are made.


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