Iraq spending: More than $1 billion a week


Geraldine Sealey
September 22, 2004 7:25PM (UTC)

The Pentagon is now tapping into a $25 billion "contingency fund" to pay for troop rotations in Iraq and to prepare for even more intense fighting in Iraq this fall. Just months ago, the administration claimed it wouldn't need more funding for the war until early 2005 -- another glaring example of the administration's complete bungling of post-invasion plans. And you have to wonder how sustainable this rate of expenditure is.

From Reuters: "With the rate of spending in Iraq already at more than $1 billion a week, the Pentagon may not have enough money to 'get past Christmas,' let alone wait until February, said John Pike, a defense analyst with GlobalSecurity.org. He said the White House could need closer to $75 billion next year."

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"Steven Kosiak, a defense analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said the administration could shift funding around to fill any shortfall. He added that the decision to dip into the reserve fund so soon was further evidence 'the war is costing more than the administration anticipated.'"

"Critics have long accused Bush of understating war costs. Before the invasion, then-White House budget director Mitch Daniels predicted Iraq would be 'an affordable endeavor,' and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz even assured Congress: 'We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.' Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, the top Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee, said tapping into emergency reserves was 'another example of this administration saying one thing and doing another.'"


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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