What was the plan again?

Robert Gates said a phased escalation in Iraq would allow time to measure progress. Now he says he'll send the troops as quickly as he can.

Published January 26, 2007 8:37PM (EST)

At a press conference on Jan. 11, Defense Secretary Robert Gates tried to assure the public that additional U.S. troops would be "phased in" to Iraq so that there would be "ample opportunity early on" to evaluate the progress of the escalation and test the commitments the Nouri al-Maliki government has made. "Before very many American soldiers have been sent to Iraq," Gates said, "we'll have pretty good early indications" of the Iraqi government's "performance."

At a press conference today, however, Gates said that he's doing what he can to get the additional troops to Iraq as soon as possible. "There [are] some simply logistical constraints that make it difficult to do a lot" of acceleration, he said. "But I have asked people to look at it and see to what extent they could be -- or some portion of it -- accelerated."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Iraq Iraq War Middle East Robert Gates War Room