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President Bush’s Iraq Speech Overshadows New Congress

President Bush's plan to increase the size of the U.S. military effort in Iraq came during Congress' first week under new leadership. Political analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks discuss the impact of the new strategy and the early progress of the new Congress.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Mark, Captain Carter, Colonel Armstrong were talking about complexities. And as I understood it, Captain Carter said it would take 150,000 to 200,000 troops, and it could take five to ten years to get this job done on the ground. Did I hear him correctly?

  • MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist:

    You did hear, and he said in Baghdad.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    In Baghdad alone?

  • MARK SHIELDS:

    That's right.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    You heard the same way?

  • DAVID BROOKS, Columnist, New York Times:

    I heard the same thing, but I'm not qualified to judge who is right.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    Yes, yes, but what does that mean for a plan that is now 48 hours old?

  • DAVID BROOKS:

    Well, it means a couple of things. The first thing that it means is that there has always been a need for more boots on the ground. That has been evident for three years, and a lot of people have been saying that, and it's finally now being done.

    The question about whether it's being done too much, for those of us who are not military experts, we rely on the various people who are. And a lot of people are saying it's still not enough, this 20,000, it's a drop in the bucket.

    Others, however, are saying it is enough. And I think it's roughly a doubling of what's in Baghdad. And it will all come down, I believe, to David Petraeus, the man who's running the show over there now, who wrote…

  • JIM LEHRER:

    The Army general, right?

  • DAVID BROOKS:

    … the Army general, who wrote the counterinsurgency manual, who's been successful so far in what he has done, both as a commander in the initial invasion, then in the training operations, and who has one of the best reputations in the military. When he finally testifies, that will be an important moment in this debate, because people can judge his expertise versus the others.

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