Tom Matzzie and the MoveOn PAC Team – 2005-04-05 23:36:59
(April 4, 2005) — Congress has barely debated the war in Iraq or its aftermath since it voted to authorize the use of force in October 2002. Now, the Bush administration is skipping the normal budget process to ask for an additional $82 billion to fund the American presence in Iraq. Among the big-ticket items, a $600 million embassy and some 14 “enduring” bases.
Those bases, and the absence of an exit strategy, will worsen, not improve the situation in Iraq.
And, remember the last $87 billion Congress authorized for the war: a whopping $9 billion of it is missing because of corrupt contracting. We must root out the corporate corruption that has undercut the rebuilding efforts and lost billions of taxpayers’ money.
As it considers another $82 billion for Iraq, Congress needs to insist that America has an exit strategy from Iraq with a timeline, that we do not construct permanent bases in Iraq and that we end war profiteering by corporations. Please sign our petition urging Congress to act today.
So far we’ve spent at least $200 billion invading, policing and now trying to rebuild Iraq. There are more than 150,000 US troops there, yet the situation continues to worsen.
In February of this year, there was an average of 70 attacks per day by insurgents. A year ago, the average number of attacks per day was 14. Similarly, the number of insurgents has more than tripled over the last year.
Things haven’t been improving much for Iraqis health and welfare, either. They have, on average, only 8 hours of electricity per day. Unemployment is between 28 and 40 percent.
More than 700,000 children have dropped out of school and malnutrition rates among children in Iraq have nearly doubled since Saddam was in power.
And, in January the National Intelligence Council confirmed that Iraq is now a breeding ground for terrorists.
Many of the challenges we face in Iraq are because our posture is one of a permanent presence. The lack of an exit strategy and the construction of permanent bases are provocative signals to Iraqis, implying an occupation that could last for generations.
War profiteering by dozens of firms in Iraq is draining the reconstruction effort. One firm, Custer Battles, was paid approximately $15 million to provide security for civilian flights at Baghdad International Airport, even though no planes flew during the contract term.
While all of this is going on Congress remains silent on the war, refusing to debate its conduct or how to exit the country.
Please sign our petition. Insist that Congress does its job.
FULL TEXT OF THE PETITION
TO: (Your Representative and Senators)
FROM: (Your Name and Email)
SUBJECT: $82 billion more for Iraq
Dear (senator or representative),
Congress must insist that America have an exit strategy from Iraq with a timeline, that we do not construct permanent bases and that we end war profiteering by corporations.
(Your personal note)
P.S. Here is a helpful resource.
Iraq by the Numbers, Center for American Progress, March 18, 2005
• 1. 14 ‘enduring bases’ set in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, March 23, 2004
• 2. Audit: US lost track of $9 billion in Iraq funds, CNN, January 31, 2005
• 3. Iraq Index, The Brookings Institution
• 4. Iraq Index, The Brookings Institution
• 5. Iraq New Terror Breeding Ground, The Washington Post, January 14, 2005
• 6. Lawmakers Told About Contract Abuse in Iraq, The Washington Post, February 15, 2005