Reid: 'Sure, I'll go along' with short US troop surge in Iraq

Published: Sunday December 17, 2006
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During a Sunday morning interview on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada, Dem) indicated that he would back a short-term surge of more US troops sent to Iraq, as reports indicate that President Bush may be contemplating such a plan.

"If the president calls for adding more troops to Baghdad, adding more troops to Iraq, will you oppose it?" Stephanopoulos asked.

Reid said that he'd "go along" with such a plan if it's "part of a program" to get the United States out "by this time next year."

"If it's for a surge, that is, for two or three months and it's part of a program to get us out of there, as indicated, by this time next year, then, sure, I'll go along with it," Reid said.

"But if it's put 45,000 more troops in there -- you know, we've lost in Nevada about 30 troops killed, scores have been wounded," Reid countered. "We're now approaching 3,000 dead Americans, costing the American people 2.5-3 billion dollars a week. This is a war that we have to change course. The president has to do that."

Stephanopoulos asked Reid how he would know such a surge would be temporary.

"I mean, even if that condition is set, even if the president says we'd like them to come home in two or three months, there's no way you're going to know that they're going to be able to come home, is there?" Stephanopoulos asked Reid.

"If the commanders on the ground said this is just for a short period of time, we'll go along with that," Reid responded. "But if you put more troops in there, keep in mind, I repeat, the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. Those aren't my words. Those are the words of some of the finest patriots we have in this country, Democrats and Republicans, the Iraq Study Group."

Reid's words comes days after another top Democrat, Silvestre Reyes, the incoming House Intelligence chairman, called for an increase of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops "to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq."