Pentagon expects `post-surge' troop levels in Iraq to be 140,000

About 8,000 more US troops will be on the ground in Iraq when the US troop buildup ends in July than there were when it began in January 2007, a senior general said Monday. Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, operations chief for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that by July the troop total is likely to be 140,000. That compares with 132,000 when President George W. Bush approved orders to send an additional five Army brigades to Iraq to improve security and avert civil war. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, as speaker of the US House of Representatives the senior Democrat in Washington, said the announcement showed that Bush's troop buildup was not a temporary measure as it had been advertised. Democrats said when they regained control of Congress in the November 2006 elections that they would force Bush to end the war but have failed to achieve that. "As we approach the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, Americans continue to demand a new direction in Iraq and reject a continuation of the president's plan for a 10-year, trillion-dollar war in Iraq," Pelosi said.