The day's military theme continued with the follow-up to the President's announcement that ground forces would be expanded once more. The policy of a leaner military changed "literally the moment Donald Rumsfeld walked out of that door," CBS' David Martin mused.
In the halls of the Pentagon, NBC's Jim Miklaszewski (in the middle of the O'Donnell videostream) heard muttering from the military about the President's motives, characterizing his pledge to expand the military as "highly suspicious." The brass see it as "an effort to buy support" for reinforcements in Baghdad: "Throw in 30,000 troops now in exchange for an overall larger force four or five years down the road." Miklaszewski's bureau chief Tim Russert (at the tail of the O'Donnell videostream) predicted that any plan to increase troops in Iraq will be actively opposed at hearings on Capitol Hill, held to "refute the President."
ABC's Jonathan Karl (subscription required) concentrated on the escalating size of the Pentagon budget. He gave due credit to Bloomberg News for breaking the story that the budget request had grown by $170bn for 2007 because of the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon had once estimated that the cost of the entire Iraq war, from start to finish, would be $50bn. That $170bn was sought before the Pentagon even began contemplating sending reinforcements into Baghdad. Karl predicted that persuading the Democratic Congress to pay for the war would be a "colossal challenge" for the President.
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