Reinforce US troops, Gates told

BAGHDAD - US soldiers in Iraq urged their new boss yesterday to send reinforcements after their generals told Defence Secretary Robert Gates they were concerned a surge might delay the time when Iraqis take control.

BAGHDAD - US soldiers in Iraq urged their new boss yesterday to send reinforcements after their generals told Defence Secretary Robert Gates they were concerned a surge might delay the time when Iraqis take control.

Stung by defeat at mid-term elections last month, US President George Bush is expected to announce a new strategy in January for the unpopular war, which has so far killed nearly 3 000 US soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

Bush said on Wednesday one option under review was a short-term increase in US troop levels, but that he had not yet made up his mind.

Gates, in his first week on the job after replacing Donald Rumsfeld, is consulting widely for advice on the war effort.

He met US commanders and the Iraqi defence minister on Wednesday and was due to meet Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki yesterday. He had breakfast with soldiers to sound out their views. - Reuters

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