Perspective: U.S. troop buildup getting bigger, costlier
WASHINGTON -- President Bush's troop buildup in Baghdad apparently will be bigger and more costly _ and perhaps last longer _ than it seemed when he unveiled the plan in January as the centerpiece of a new Iraq strategy.
U.S. officials say it's too early to tell whether the troop reinforcements will succeed in containing the sectarian and insurgent violence, but it looks as though the Pentagon is preparing for an expanded commitment _ assuming that by summer there are solid signs that the extra effort is yielding significant results.
The Bush plan called for sending 21,500 extra U.S. combat troops to Iraq _ mainly to Baghdad _ with the last of five brigades arriving by June. The estimated price tag was $5.6 billion. Officials have refused to say exactly how long it would last, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates had suggested that it could be over by fall.
In recent days a different picture has emerged.
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