Funding the war in Iraq

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Funding the war in Iraq -- 2006: "The Iraq war could eventually cost $2 trillion," according to a new study co-authored by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes, "who previously presented the conservative estimate." --Cursor, January 10, 2006.


Funding the war in Iraq -- April 2004

In April 2004, funding the war in Iraq began to cause concern for "military officials, defense contractors and members of Congress [who then said] that worsening U.S. fortunes in Iraq [had] dramatically changed the equation and more money [would] be needed soon," Jonathan Weisman wrote in the Washington Post.

Weisman reported that "Intense combat in Iraq is chewing up military hardware and consuming money at an unexpectedly rapid rate -- depleting military coffers, straining defense contractors and putting pressure on Bush administration officials to seek a major boost in war funding long before they had hoped."

Although Congress "approved an $87 billion defense request last year," Weisman wrote, "the administration has steadfastly maintained that military forces in Iraq will be sufficiently funded until early next year." However, Bush's "budget request for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 included no money for Iraqi operations, and his budget director, Joshua B. Bolten, said no request would come until January at the earliest." [1]

Unmet funding needs, "including initiatives aimed at providing equipment and weapons for troops in Iraq" which are NOT included in "Bush's $402 billion defense budget for 2005," identified by the military include: [2]

  • Army:
  • $132 million for bolt-on vehicle armor
  • $879 million for combat helmets, silk-weight underwear, boots and other clothing
  • $21.5 million for M249 squad automatic weapons
  • $27 million for ammunition magazines, night sights and ammo packs
  • $956 million for repairing desert-damaged equipment
  • $102 million to replace equipment lost in combat
  • Marine Corps:
  • $40 million for body armor, lightweight helmets and other equipment for "Marines engaged in the global war on terrorism"
  • 1,800 squad automatic weapons
  • 5,400 M4 carbine rifles

"Bush administration officials have not wavered in their contention that money is actually plentiful. Dov S. Zakheim, who left his post as Pentagon comptroller last week, told reporters earlier this month that there may be a temporary spike in spending in the coming months but that costs would then steadily decline. By borrowing from military personnel, operations and maintenance accounts for the final half of 2005, the Pentagon may be able to bridge the gap, said Rep. John M. Spratt, Jr. (S.C.), the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee. But budget chicanery of that magnitude would be unprecedented, he added. ... 'Whether they can do that if the requirement is $50 [billion] or $60 billion remains to be seen,' Spratt said. 'It's no way to run a budget.'" [3]

However, Pauline Jelinek, in the April 22, 2004, article "Iraq War Faces $4B Shortfall," reports that The "Pentagon's top general," General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on April 21st "that increased violence in Iraq is pushing the cost of the war over budget, threatening a $4 billion shortfall by late summer, ... the recent decision to extend the stay of some 20,000 troops will cost roughly $700 million more over three months. And the White House kept open the possibility that it will seek additional funds before the end of this election year."

According to Myers, "'When the service chiefs last talked about this, there was, I think, a $4 billion shortfall,' Myers told the House Armed Services Committee. 'We thought we could get through all of August. We'd have to figure out how to do September.'" [4]

Additionally, officials said that the "war is costing about $4.7 billion a month, officials said." Myers said that "Defense officials are studying their budget, which runs through Sept. 30, to determine whether some money can be moved from purchase programs or other Pentagon accounts." [5]

Cost of War Calculations

External links

Funding Documents

Reports & Studies

2003

2004

2005

2006

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