” The U.S. armed services have requested a $160 billion supplemental appropriation to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the remainder of fiscal year 2007--a staggering amount that, if approved by the Defense Department, may hasten the showdown between resurgent congressional Democrats and the Bush administration over the budget-busting War on Terror.
The request--which will likely include all costs related to the war on terrorism--far surpasses the $94 billion supplemental authorized earlier this year* to fund the ongoing wars as well as hurricane recovery in the Gulf and is nearly double the $82 billion Iraq war supplemental outlay of 2005. It comes within days of Republicans' stunning losses in the midterm elections and the resignation of embattled Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was set to decide on the request Nov. 15.” (*Emphasis TLS)
Of particular interest in this request should be the fact that, according to Tom Donnelly, a defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, ”While a good chunk of the $160 billion request will be used to replace worn equipment, it also covers additional systems, armor and weaponry and thus is a blueprint for pressing on with the current troop levels in Iraq and strategy in the War on Terror” Or, as Donnelly puts it, "It's not just going to be 'I broke my tank, and I want to fix it,”.
As most who read here know I have long been a critic of the Bush tactic of funding operations in Iraq and Afghanistan “off budget.” As a matter of fact I was heartened this year when an amendment to the 2007 Defense Appropriations bill was passed that would finally require the Bush Administration to begin placing all new funding for those operations “on budget”. However my satisfaction was short lived when I heard, first on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now and then read a report from the Council on Foreign Relations that included the following bitter pill:
”Senator John McCain (R-AZ) passed an amendment in October that requires operations in Afghanistan and Iraq to be funded in the main defense budget, but President Bush attached a signing statement to the bill that would allow for future supplemental requests.”
With Donald Rumsfeld on his way out at the Department of Defense, will this supplemental be his parting gift from the Bush Administration and the lameduck republican Congress? The American people have just spoken to say that there must be a change. Run, do not walk, to your phone or fax or email your current AND future representatives and demand that they fully examine this incoming request. The days of blank checks must stop. Let the new days of real oversight begin now!
Chad (The Left) Shue