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MSNBC – 10,000 more to Iraq for the elections

Instant replay: yet another suicide car bomber detonates next to a military convoy, this time near Baghdad airport, where attacks occur daily (Ceerwan Aziz/Reuters).

Jim Miklaszewski is reporting that the Pentagon is scraping together another 10,000 troops to secure the polling places. That’s probably because the insurgents are either killing the “trained” Iraqi police or scaring them away, so the U.S. is going to have to pick up the slack. Of course, the military is having to tap forces not usually deployed for this type of work, and they are being sent into a land of chaos.

Faced with the real threat of terrorist attacks during Iraqi elections next month, U.S. military officials tell NBC News the Pentagon is now planning to raise the number of American troops in Iraq by 10,000-11,000 to provide additional security. That’s twice the number of needed reinforcements first anticipated and will temporarily raise the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to about 150,000.

That means soldiers from the Army’s 1st Infantry and 1st Cavalry and some U.S. Marines who were scheduled to leave Iraq this month may be ordered to stay longer, while soldiers from the 3rd Infantry and 82nd Airborne could be ordered into Iraq earlier than scheduled.

Even then, it would seem impossible to protect all 9,000 polling places in Iraq from terrorist attack.

“We could probably see 10, 20, 30, 50 people killed on Election Day in Iraq, including some American forces, some Iraqi security forces and some innocent voters,” says Michael O’Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding