The Cost of War and the Next Step for Iraq

February 17th, 2005 - by admin

Friends Committee on National Legislation – 2005-02-17 23:18:23

See the Real Costs of the Iraq War

Please take a moment to watch this moving, short (2-minute) film from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) about the human cost of the Iraq war. This online movie tells the truth about the ongoing loss of life in Iraq — and encourages viewers to sign AFSC’s petition to bring the troops home. It’s a powerful reminder of the individual lives lost, and a call to take action to stop the carnage. If the pro-peace majority can grow — and make ourselves heard — we can end this war! (Please forward to your friends.)

The Next Step for Iraq

The Iraqi elections are an important step for the people of Iraq, but the next step is in the hands of US Congress. Whether you support an immediate withdrawal of US troops or believe the troops should stay until stability is achieved, we can all agree that ultimately US policy should be to withdraw completely.

Urge Congress to pass a resolution stating simply that “It is the policy of the United States to withdraw all military troops and bases from Iraq.”

Iraq Supplemental Appropriation & the Federal Budget
Joe Volk / Friends Committee on National Legislation

WASHINGTON (February 16, 2005) — What do you think about the following message?: “Please approve this additional $64 billion taxpayer dollars for the war in Iraq, but don’t ask me to count these costs in my budgeting process.”

That’s basically the message from the White House this week.

Here’s what President Bush did. Last week, he said that his budget request for the Pentagon in 2006 was $420 billion. Then this week he made a “emergency” supplemental appropriations request for additional military spending in 2005 of $64 billion dollars for Iraq, plus additional money for the war in Afghanistan and other programs. (The supplemental request in total comes to $81.9 billion.)

The president does not want a real debate on the costs of the war in Iraq, either in human terms or in its consequences for the federal budget. The Congress has already approved more than $150 billion in spending for the war in Iraq and its direct consequences. When this new emergency supplemental is approved those costs will rise to more than $200 billion. One Congressional estimate suggests the Iraq invasion, occupation and subsequent costs could rise to between $460 billion and $645 billion in the next ten years.

As the US approaches the two year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the president is continuing to block any substantive Congressional role in planning for US operations in Iraq. And Congress is accepting this arrangement.

Do you agree? We don’t. We seek a world free of war and the threat of war. We oppose military spending, including the supplemental funding request for Iraq. But FCNL also believes this is not a truthful budget process.

The “budget” is intended to be a document that implies a thought-out process of planning for the future. A “supplemental appropriation” should be used to obtain quick congressional approval to spend money on an urgent, unanticipated emergency. The President is misusing these terms to be a spendthrift on war but look like a belt-tightening conservative.

Newspaper reports suggest that President Bush will also seek another supplemental appropriation for Iraq in the fall of 2005. He knows that now, but he doesn’t want Congress to suffer sticker shock. So rather than providing an estimate of future spending, the president asks for some money now, and then comes back to ask for more later. Congress is pretending not to notice. Voters need to convince their Members of Congress to face up to the money crunch now.

What should Congress do? Congress should call President Bush on this budget deception. They should reserve “supplemental appropriations” requests only for true, unanticipated emergencies, like the tsumani which is estimated to have killed a quarter of million people and destroyed communities across a quarter of the planet. They should include in their budget resolution the anticipated costs of a continuing war and occupation.

In short, Congress should put the Iraq war and occupation costs into its budget resolution and regular appropriations process. That’s the only way to tell the American taxpayer the truth about federal spending priorities.

The Next Step for Iraq: Join FCNL’s Iraq Campaign,

Contact Congress and the Administration:

Friends Committee on National Legislation, 245 Second St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-5795. *
phone: (202)547-6000 * toll-free: (800)630-1330