Bush Will Request Another $70 Billion For War Efforts

If elected next term, President George W. Bush plans to seekapproximately $70 billion in emergency funding for the wars in Iraqand Afghanistan, which will boost the total war costs to almost$225 billion since the initiation of the war on Iraq, according toPentagon and congressional officials.

During interviews and in debates Bush statedthat he would make additional funding requests for the war nextyear, but the new figures are just estimates and a $70 billionrequest would be larger than lawmakers anticipated.

Last year Bush submitted an $87 billionrequest for the Iraq and Afghanistan efforts that shocked and upsetRepublicans, the Washington Post reported.

The latest request to increase war funding wassubmitted after congress approved three earlier emergency spendingbills. Congress approved $25 billion for the war in August,lawmakers passed an $87.5 billion bill that included $65 billionfor combat operation for both Iraq and

Afghanistan last October and an additional$18.6 billion of that money was allocated to reconstruction inIraq.

Congress has already allocated $25 billion inwar spending for the fiscal year that began Oct 1. Final figuresmay be shaped by the outcome of the presidential election and theevents in Iraq. But assuming force levels will remain constant inIraq at about 130,000 troops, the final bill will be”roughly” $70 billion for the military alone, said asenior Pentagon official.

The Army is expected to request at least anadditional $30 billion for combat activity in Iraq, with $6 billionmore needed to begin refurbishing equipment that has been worn downor destroyed by unexpected intense combat, according to anAppropriation Committee aide.

A senior Pentagon official said, the deferralof needed repairs over the past year has added to maintenancecosts, which can no longer be delayed.

At the end of the invasion of Iraq in thespring of 2003, Pentagon officials expected to be able to radicallytrim the occupation force by the end of that year to perhaps 50,000troops or less, according to a Pentagon official. Instead, theymaintained a force of about 130,000 personnel there and havesupplemented that force with about 20,000 civilians.

William D. Nordhaus, Yale Universityeconomist, estimated that in inflation-adjustment terms, World WarI cost just under $200 billion for the United States, the VietnamWar cost about $500 billion from 1964 to 1972 and the cost of theIraq war could reach nearly half that number by next fall.