US to send additional 20,000 soldiers to Iraq

The first of up to 20,000 additional US troops will move into Iraq by month's end under President George W. Bush's new war plan, a senior defense official said. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged to hold a vote on the increase, which many Democrats oppose. Details of a gradual military buildup emerged a day before Bush's planned speech to the nation, in which he also will propose a bit over $1 billion to shore up the country's battered economy and create jobs, said a second US official. Bush is expected to urge friendly Mideast countries to increase their aid to Iraq but will ignore the recommendation of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group that he include Syria and Iran in an effort to stanch Iraqi bloodshed nearly four years after the US invasion, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not yet been announced.