President Bush will soon seek about $100 billion in additional emergency funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a House report Wednesday. Filed by Democratic staffers for two key panels in the House, the report’s revelations mark a rapid escalation in the cost of the Iraq war at a time when public support is plummeting. In a broad report criticizing Republicans’ fiscal decisions, Democratic staffers on the House Appropriations Committee and House Budget Committee also noted that Congress has already appropriated about $379 billion for the war in Iraq. “The administration is expected to submit an additional request early next year that will total roughly $100 billion. At least three-quarters of this request will support operations in Iraq,” according to the report. If the White House asks for the $100 billion, it would be significantly less than the $130 billion the Pentagon requested recently, according to several accounts … The $100 billion, if submitted and approved by Congress next year, would be in addition to the record $447 billion the Pentagon is receiving this fiscal year for all military operations. The House Democrats’ report, titled “The Republican Legacy: Bad Budgeting Creates Burdens For Years To Come,” said that despite significant increases in the Pentagon’s budget, “The war in Iraq has left the U.S. Army’s readiness at its lowest level in decades.”
Bad budgeting indeed. Considering this fiscal year alone, we first hear the cost will be $70 billion and now President Bush says $170 billion, while the Pentagon is saying $200 billion. And this is not counting what it will take to bring our military back to the readiness before the Iraq invasion.
Back in 2002, Mitch Daniels was saying this would cost only $60 billion, while Bill Kristol put the figure at a much lower level. Lawrence Lindsey had the courage to disagree with these low-ball estimates for which he got the pink slip. Look wars are costly – even if the Commander in Chief wants to claim he was giving us our money back.
Update: AB reader Bakho tells us to read Official Iraq war costs don’t tell the whole story by Kevin G. Hall and David Montgomery.