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U.S. soldier dies in attack outside Baghdad

Car bomb leaves 2 Iraqis dead

The burned-out remains of a car bomb outside an office used by U.S. soldiers near the Iraqi city of Erbil.
The burned-out remains of a car bomb outside an office used by U.S. soldiers near the Iraqi city of Erbil.

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A car bomb kills two Iraqis and wounds several others.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An attack on a U.S. military vehicle outside the Iraqi capital Tuesday killed an American soldier and wounded another, U.S. Central Command said.

"One 3rd Corp Support Command soldier was killed and one was wounded in an improvised explosive device attack on their military vehicle along a major supply route northeast of Baghdad at approximately 5 p.m. on Sep. 9," a Centcom statement said.

The wounded soldier was evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital for treatment. The incident is under investigation.

Since the war in Iraq began last year, 288 U.S. troops have been killed -- 184 in hostile action and 104 non-hostile.

Earlier in the day, a pair of attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq left five soldiers wounded, a coalition official said.

In Ramadi, west of Baghdad, an improvised explosive detonated around 7 a.m., injuring two soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the official said. The soldiers were taken to a nearby medical facility.

At 9:50 a.m. in Fallujah, also west of the capital, there was an attack on a military Humvee that wounded three other soldiers from the same regiment, and they also were taken to a medical facility, the official said. In that attack, too, an improvised explosive device was used.

In another incident, a car bomb near a building used by U.S. troops in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil killed two Iraqis and wounded several others Tuesday night, CNN Turk reported.

The explosion occurred about 9:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m. EDT) in Erbil, in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. At least 11 people, including three children, were injured in the blast, the network reported.

There was no immediate comment on the explosion about 200 miles north of Baghdad from U.S. or Kurdish authorities.

Coalition officials also said a fire broke out at an oil pipeline Monday in Janbour, in the northern part of the country. The pipeline was shut down until it can be repaired -- resulting in a loss of 35,000 barrels of oil a day.

Officials did not know whether the pipeline fire was an act of sabotage or an accident.

Wolfowitz: 'A battle that we must win'

Meanwhile, in Washington, one of the architects of the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq faced tough questions from a Senate committee as he urged Congress to support the Bush administration's $87 billion funding request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The costs are large, but it is a battle that we can win and a battle that we must win," U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

About $71 billion of the White House budget request would pay for the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, which President Bush has declared the "central front" in the war on terrorism launched after the al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington nearly two years ago.

"As large as these costs are, they are still small compared to just the economic price that the attacks of September 11th inflicted, to say nothing of the terrible loss of human life," Wolfowitz said. "And even those costs are small in comparison to what future, more terrible terrorist attacks could inflict."

Wolfowitz and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified that U.S. commanders in Iraq did not need or want any additional American troops, and said that they are hoping to bring in more multinational troops to show the Iraqi people that this is an international effort. They also stressed that the 55,000 Iraqis serving in the country's newly-reformed army and police force are the second-largest force in the U.S.-led coalition.

The committee's chairman, Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, said it was "imperative" that Congress approve the money needed for U.S. troops to stabilize and rebuild Iraq. But he said the controversy over troop levels is "legitimate" and "continues to this day."

Myers said the presence of more U.S. troops could undercut efforts to stabilize Iraq.

"The more Americans in Iraq, the less Iraqis might feel prompted to come forward and furnish us that intelligence, which is what we need so badly to deal with this threat," Myers said. He said about 55,000 Iraqis have been taken on as police and security forces to aid the occupation, and the United States hopes to have 184,000 Iraqis in security forces by 2005.

U.S soldiers patrol the street in front of Baghdad's abandoned television building on Tuesday.
U.S soldiers patrol the street in front of Baghdad's abandoned television building on Tuesday.

Several senators, both Republicans and Democrats, had some tough questions about the administration's policy.

"The facts as I see ... are clearly that we underestimated the size of the challenge that we would face after the 'military operations' -- unquote -- were completed. The Baathist resistance, the former military people melting into the populations, etc. The decay of the infrastructure is truly staggering," said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, said that he wanted more answers about how long the reconstruction of Iraq would take, and how much it would cost, before giving the administration "a blank check."

"We're going to support the servicemen and -women," Kennedy said. "But when you're asking for the tens of billions of dollars in reconstruction, we're entitled to the answers to those questions."

"Congress is not an ATM. We have to be able to explain this new, enormous bill to the American people," Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, said.

Most of the money -- $20 billion for reconstruction and $51 billion for military operations -- would go to pay for the war in Iraq, the White House said Monday. In his televised address Sunday night, Bush called Iraq "the central front" in the war on terrorism.

Administration officials have also acknowledged that the spending would add at least $50 billion to the federal budget deficit for next year, already expected to be a record $475 billion. (Bush request scribbled in red ink)

Senior administration officials told reporters there were no plans at the White House to seek "offsets" -- spending cuts elsewhere in the budget -- to ease the strain of the new war budget request on the Treasury. (Bush war request called 'sobering')

The White House is not open to scaling back tax cuts already passed by Congress, these officials said. (Interactive: Costs of war and the $87 billion request)

Tours extended for National Guard, Reserve troops

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari talks with Arab foreign ministers at Tuesday's session of the Arab League's annual meeting in Cairo.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari talks with Arab foreign ministers at Tuesday's session of the Arab League's annual meeting in Cairo.

About 20,000 U.S. National Guard and Army Reserve troops currently serving in the Iraq theater may have their tours of duty extended by up to six months under a plan that the Army has sent to Congress, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.

The troops may be required to stay in Iraq for a year, which would add an additional three to six months of their active duty period, when their predeployment duty and postdeployment deactivation are included.

Active duty troops are already expected to stay in Iraq for a full year.

Pentagon officials said they were going to try to shorten the period between the time when units from the National Guard and Reserves are activated and when they are deployed to a theater of operations. They said that troops who are called to active duty in the future can expect their total active service, including pre-deployment and post-deployment duties, to last about one year.

In part because of an ongoing guerrilla campaign, more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq since President Bush declared an end to major combat May 1 than were killed during the invasion. (Special Report: Coalition casualties, Interactive: U.S. troop deaths in Iraq)

Other developments:

• Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari took Iraq's seat alongside other Arab League ministers Tuesday after the league agreed to accept him as Iraq's representative on a temporary basis. Members debated the issue for six hours before seating Zebari. Some Arab League members said they feared that seating the Iraqi minister -- a member of the U.S.-appointed Iraq Governing Council -- was akin to condoning the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

• British military officials in southern Iraq Tuesday said they have arrested a prominent tribal figure on suspicion of anticoalition activities. The officials did not elaborate on what the tribal leader was accused of doing, but they said a wire report claiming the arrest was connected to the possible sheltering of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was incorrect.

• U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he hopes to build a consensus quickly on the new Iraq resolution sought by the United States. Annan is calling for a meeting in Geneva on Saturday with the foreign ministers of the Security Council's five permanent member nations -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- each of whom has veto power. Annan met with ambassadors from the 15-nation Security Council on Monday to discuss a document submitted by the United States that could become a draft resolution establishing more international involvement in the occupation of the turbulent country. (Full story)

CNN's Ted Barrett, Dana Bash, Jason Bellini, Rym Brahimi, John King, Ben Wedeman and Hala Gorani contributed to this report.

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