Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mo' money, mo' war

By Michael J.W. Stickings

President Bush will seek an additional $245 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and against terror, according to WaPo. This is "on top of regular spending for the Pentagon, which officials say will be $481 billion in 2008, a 10 percent increase over this year's budget":

If approved by Congress, the new war spending would bring the overall cost of fighting to about $745 billion since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States -- adjusting for inflation, more than was spent on the Vietnam War.

Bush "has obtained most of the funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through emergency or supplemental spending bills, which are not subject to the same level of congressional scrutiny as the regular budget". Now is the time for Democrats, unlike their rubber stamping precedessors in the majority, to put an end to the post-9/11 practise of waging a series of endless wars with an apparently bottomless pit of money and without any real accountability at all.

Bush and his allies will play the support-the-troops card, but this isn't about supporting the troops. It's about waging more war with more money at their disposal. Given that the Iraq War has been a failure, that Afghanistan teeters on the brink of disaster, if it isn't there already, with an impotent government in Kabul and the Taliban reasserting itself and NATO lacking the support to wage the war effectively, and that resources have been diverted from the war on terror to fight the failed war in Iraq, it is not unreasonable to ask why they should have any more money to spend.

It isn't so much the money as it is the recipient of congressional largesse, though. Whatever new money there is needs to go where it is needed most. It won't so long as Bush is calling the shots.

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