Bush seeks $80 bln for military operations
Tue Jan 25, 2005
04:05 PM ET
By Adam Entous
WASHINGTON, Jan 25
(Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Tuesday asked for more than $80 billion in new funding for military operations this year in Iraq and Afghanistan, shattering initial cost estimates and pushing the total for both conflicts to nearly $300 billion so far.
The money, announced after insurgents declared all-out war on the Iraqi elections, will be used to upgrade equipment for U.S. troops, and accelerate efforts to train and equip Iraqi forces, Bush said.
The $80 billion request will push funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to a record $105 billion for fiscal year 2005 alone, including $25 billion in emergency spending already approved. The new money will supplement the Pentagon budget, which already totals more than $400 billion. Military operation in Iraq alone already cost more than $1 billion a week.
The nearly $300 billion total is almost half what the United States spent for the entire Vietnam War, in 2005 dollars.
The request will be submitted to Congress early next month, and is expected to be approved despite lawmakers' concerns about record federal budget deficits and complaints that Bush and his top advisers initially underestimated the costs.
Before the invasion, then-White House budget Director Mitch Daniels predicted Iraq would be "an affordable endeavor," and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz assured Congress: "We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon."
When then-White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey estimated Iraq costs at $100 billion to $200 billion, he was derided by administration colleagues and later lost his job.