Posted 3:22pm September 19
by Melissa Kronfeld
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
Last week, President George W. Bush requested that Congress grant him an additional $87 billion in funding the aftermath of the war in Iraq.
The President told Congress and the American people that $66 billion was intended to fund military and intelligence operations, while the remaining $21 billion would go to reconstruction efforts for the Iraqi state.
Responding to the enormous sum, Condoleezza Rice stated on CNN’s Sunday night Late Edition that “the cost of freedom and the cost of peace cannot be measured.”
Currently, the Pentagon spends an average of $5 billion a month in military expenditures for the war on terrorism. About $3.9 billion goes to Iraq while about $1 billion goes to Afghanistan. If the Pentagon continues at this rate, they will average $60 billion a year. These numbers do not include additional reconstruction and supply costs for rebuilding parts of the Iraqi infrastructure and maintaining all aspects of humanitarian relief.
The Democratic Party remains in shock. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-West Virginia, told the press corps, “Congress is not an ATM.”
According to a CNN-USA Today Gallup poll, 59 percent of Americans believe that President Bush has no plan for Iraq. In a similar Washington Post-ABC News poll, 46 percent of the public strongly disapproves of Bush’s Iraq policy. This seems to fuel the aggression Democrats have been showing against the administrations Iraq strategy.
In response to Bush’s request, nine Democrats, including Senator Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, have submitted a bill requiring that the White House submit a plan for reconstruction, a time table for Iraqi participation in local and state affairs and the predicated costs of individual projects before they approve the $87 billion.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Defense Department has spent $93.9 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to other areas where the war on terrorism is being fought. If the additional $87 billion is granted, the total costs of the war on terrorism in the last two years will total $159.4 billion.