Washington, D.C.: Pentagon may speed up flow of combat forces
The Pentagon may send some reinforcements to Iraq sooner than scheduled, and the number of U.S. and allied forces in the Persian Gulf region now exceeds 290,000, officials said Saturday.
Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal told a news conference that part of the Army's 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, from Fort Polk, La., might go earlier than originally planned, but he did not know when.
"There are discussions under way about potentially moving up part of its force to an earlier deployment," said McChrystal, vice director of operations for the Pentagon's Joint Staff.
Maryland: Bush offers optimistic view of war's progress
Seeking to maximize support for the war in Iraq, President Bush on Saturday issued a staunchly upbeat picture of the military campaign's progress and intensified his criticism of Saddam Hussein's regime.
The president said in his weekly radio address that the end result of the war is not in doubt, countering questions about unexpectedly intense Iraqi resistance and the pace of the coalition troops' advance.
"The fighting is fierce and we do not know its duration, yet we know the outcome of this battle," said Bush, spending the second weekend of the invasion at Camp David. "The Iraqi regime will be disarmed and removed from power."
Qatar: 'Friendly fire' may have killed Marines
The U.S. Central Command said Saturday it was trying to determine if nine Marines who died last weekend were killed by Iraqi or American fire near the Iraqi city of Nasiriya.
A spokesman, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles Owens, said every reasonable possibility was being investigated.
The Washington Post on Friday quoted a military source as saying an A-10 Thunderbolt II warplane may have mistaken the Marines for Iraqi fighters and attacked them.
Army Lt. Gen. John Abizaid said last week that the Marines were ambushed March 23 after Iraqi soldiers faked a surrender then fired a rocket-propelled grenade.