Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pentagon to seek $100b more for war costs

Pentagon to seek $100b more for war costs

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is in the early stages of drafting a request for up to $100 billion more for military costs in Iraq and Afghanistan, said lawmakers, a figure that would push spending related to the wars towards half a trillion dollars.

Reps CW ?Bill? Young, the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defence, and John P Murtha, the senior Democrat on that panel, said the military had informally told them it wanted $80 billion to $100 billion in a war-spending package that the White House was expected to send Congress next year. That would be in addition to $50 billion Congress is about to give the Pentagon for operations in Iraq for the beginning of 2006. Military commanders expect that sum to last through May.

Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, Congress has approved more than $300 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, including military operations, reconstruction, security and aid, as well as other costs related to the US-declared war on terrorism, according to the Congressional Research Service, which writes reports for Congress.

Murtha mentioned a $100-billion figure for the spending package to reporters last week, saying: ?Twenty years it?s going to take to settle this thing. The American people are not going to put up with it, can?t afford it.?

Later, President George W Bush accepted responsibility for the decision to go to war with Iraq based on faulty intelligence, but said it was still the right choice to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

?It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president, I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq,? Bush told The Woodrow Wilson Centre. ?And I?m also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we?re doing just that,? Bush said. ap"

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