U.S. President George W. Bush said Sunday that 4,600 additional troops he is sending to Iraq above an increase announced in January are slated for support roles only, and urged Congress to approve funding for the war "without any strings attached."
Bush said in January after an extensive review that 21,500 additional American soldiers would be sent to Iraq to help calm Baghdad and the troubled Anbar Province.
"Those combat troops are going to need, you know, some support, and that's what the American people are seeing in terms of Iraq — the support troops necessary to help the reinforcements do their job," Bush said at a news conference here with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
The new announcement, made over the weekend, includes 2,400 combat support troops and 2,200 military police. Gordon England, the deputy defense secretary, told the U.S. Congress last week that the number of support troops needed to support the influx of 21,500 combat troops into Iraq could reach 7,000.
Of the roughly 141,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, about 60,000 are combat forces and the rest are support troops.
Bush asked Congress on Friday for $3.2 billion to pay for the new Iraq troops, as well as for 3,500 new U.S. troops to expand training of local police and army units in Afghanistan.
This revision came as lawmakers opposed to the war have been debating the $93.4 billion in additional defense money he has already requested to finance this year's war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"My hope, of course, is that Congress provides the funding necessary for the combat troops to be able to do their job — without any strings attached," Bush said.