Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bush Wants $50 Billion More for Iraq War

Bush Wants $50 Billion More for Iraq War
Planned Request Signals Confidence That Congress Won't Prevail on Pullout

President Bush: Fund my fiasco

President Bush plans to ask Congress next month for up to $50 billion in additional funding for the war in Iraq, a White House official said yesterday, a move that appears to reflect increasing administration confidence that it can fend off congressional calls for a rapid drawdown of U.S. forces.

We're simply bankrupting ourselves over Iraq.

The request -- which would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- is expected to be announced after congressional hearings scheduled for mid-September featuring the two top U.S. officials in Iraq. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will assess the state of the war and the effect of the new strategy the U.S. military has pursued this year.

Yes the toothless congress will Air Freight the $$$$$ to Halliburton ASAP

The request is being prepared now in the belief that Congress will be unlikely to balk so soon after hearing the two officials argue that there are promising developments in Iraq but that they need more time to solidify the progress they have made, a congressional aide said.

Most of the additional funding in a revised supplemental bill would pay for the current counteroffensive in Iraq, which has expanded the U.S. force there by about 28,000 troops, to about 160,000. The cost of the buildup was not included in the proposed 2008 budget because Pentagon officials said they did not know how long the troop increase would last. The decision to seek about $50 billion more appears to reflect the view in the administration that the counteroffensive will last into the spring of 2008 and will not be shortened by Congress.

Some consideration is being given to trimming the new request by a few billion dollars, the White House official said. But, he added, "this is pretty close to a done deal." Almost all the spending is relatively noncontroversial, he added, with the vast majority of it necessary just to keep the U.S. military operating in Iraq. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to reporters, said that the supplemental requests are likely to be "rolled together" and considered as one package.

The revised supplemental would total about $200 billion, indicating that the cost of the war in Iraq now exceeds $3 billion a week. The bill also covers the far smaller costs of the war in Afghanistan. The Pentagon said recently that the cost of the Iraq war has surpassed $330 billion, while the war in Afghanistan has cost $78 billion.

"We have said previously that after General Petraeus reports, we will be evaluating what adjustments may need to be made to our pending [fiscal 2008] supplemental request, which was sent up in February with the rest of the budget," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said last night. "I'm going to decline to speculate on this, as General Petraeus has not testified. Nor have any decisions been made at this stage about whether, when or what specific changes could be made."

A House Appropriations Committee aide said that an additional White House spending request has been anticipated but that it was expected to be far smaller, perhaps about $30 billion. "We haven't seen the details, but we'll give it the scrutiny it deserves," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). "It's long past time for giving blank checks to the administration."

Despite widespread media anticipation of next month's Iraq hearings, Pentagon insiders say they do not expect them to result in any major changes in military strategy. The sessions are expected to occur the week of Sept. 10, with Petraeus and Crocker appearing before a total of four committees in the House and Senate.

"I don't see any surprises" coming out of the hearings, said an officer on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said he expects Petraeus and Crocker to focus on tactical security gains in and around Baghdad in recent months and on shifts in tribal allegiances in favor of U.S. forces, and to argue that those improvements may open a window for greater political reconciliation in Iraq over the next six or seven months.

In any event, this officer said, he expects the current counteroffensive to be maintained into next April. "The surge was designed to last for a year," he said. "I don't think they'll change that."

In a speech yesterday to the convention of the American Legion in Reno, Nev., Bush gave an optimistic assessment of recent events in the war, now in its fifth year. "There are unmistakable signs that our strategy is achieving the objectives we set out," he said. "The momentum is now on our side."

2 Year Anniversary of Katrina, and this Criminal Dares to ask for $50B for W A R!

What the money we're spending could be doing instead.... Updated at 1:44 PM

The War In Iraq Costs SO FAR...


Instead, we could have insured
children for one year.

Instead, we could have built
additional housing units.

Instead, we could have hired
additional public school teachers for one year.

Instead, we could have paid for
children to attend a year of Head Start.

Instead, we could have provided
students four-year scholarships at public universities.

SO FAR, and the counter is running with $4,100 for every American household;
$1,500 for every American;
$3,400 for every taxpayer;
$11 million per hour and;
$275 million per day.

Think what that amount of money could have done if we'd invested it in alternative energy sources. At $4,100 per household, we could have made solar, wind, or other natural and renewable sources of energy available to each home in America, making oil and coal nearly obsolete in the heating and cooling of our homes. If we'd spent that on our auto industries and created more fuel efficient, cleaner, or even electric transportation, think what that could do for our dependence on oil and the unstable countries we do business with.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Please, Stop Thanking Me For My Service

Please, Stop Thanking Me For My Service
by: Raf Noboa
Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 11:42:50 AM EDT

Today, people all around the country will come together to demand an end to the Iraq War. It's not the first time, nor will it be the last. People demanded an end to the madness before the war even began, in February of 2003, and the demands have only grown since then.

In the crowd, you may run into a veteran or two. You'll thank them for what they've done, and then you'll both be in your way. That's all to the good; we willingly undertook what was, at best, a difficult task, and pledged to see it through, no matter the cost.

"To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan." Those are the words that are inscribed upon the gates of the Department of Veterans' Affairs in Washington, DC. Indeed, those words make up the entirety of the Department's mission. Those words are what we, as veterans, expect from our nation upon our return. It's what we expect from our elected leaders, the same leaders that make the fateful decision to commit us to war.

It's one thing for an ordinary American to thank me for my service; I appreciate the wishes. It's another thing entirely for the people I helped elect to office to offer those words, and simply leave it at that.

Too many times, that's all we've gotten: "so long, and thanks for all the service!" We can do better--we must do better. We're not asking for much; we're asking that, having laid down our weapons, we receive the care we've so dearly earned.

That care isn't limited to medical care, whether physical or mental; it extends to housing care, so that veterans my age (I'm 30) aren't living on the streets; it extends to financial care, so that veterans aren't faced with a choice between sacrificing their service or their families; it extends to educational care, so that veterans have a chance at earning an education worthy of their service.

In short, I'm asking the people that I'm helping elect to build a nation worthy of our service and our sacrifice.

I've been writing online since 2001; this has been one of the most difficult essays I've written yet. It's not in my nature to ask or plead, either on my behalf or others. The depth of frustration that I feel, however, is immense. I'm simply tired of seeing one elected official after another, on both sides of the partisan divide, congratulate me and thank me for my service, and then fail to do anything past that.

Please, stop thanking me for my service; and start letting my service spur you to build a nation worthy of it.
Raf Noboa

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