UH OH Bipartism rumblings in Congress??

  1. rebuilding iraq likely to top war's cost
    private analysts say cost to rebuild iraq may reach as high as $600b, topping war's price tag

    the associated press

    washington aug. 12-
    the u.s. bill for rebuilding iraq and maintaining security there is widely expected to far exceed the war's price tag, and some private analysts estimate it could reach as high as $600 billion.

    the bush administration is offering only hazy details so far, and that is upsetting republican as well as democratic lawmakers.

    the closest the administration has come to estimating america's postwar burden was when l. paul bremer, the u.s. administrator of occupied iraq, said last month that "getting the country up and running again" could cost $100 billion and take three years.

    he estimated that repairing iraq's electrical grid alone will cost $13 billion and getting the water system in shape will require an additional $16 billion.

    in a recent interview on cnbc's "capital report," bremer said of rebuilding costs: "it's probably well above $50 billion, $60 billion, maybe $100 billion. it's a lot of money."

    president bush and other administration officials have refused to provide projections, saying too much is unpredictable. that has angered lawmakers of both parties, who are writing the budget for the coming election year even as federal deficits approach $500 billion.

    "i think they're fearful of having congress say, 'oh, my god, this thing is going to be very costly,'" said rep. jim kolbe, r-ariz., chairman of the house appropriations subcommittee that controls foreign aid.

    more than three months after bush declared an end to major combat operations in iraq, even the cost of the ongoing u.s. military campaign remains clouded in confusing numbers.

    defense department officials have said u.s. operations are costing about $3.9 billion monthly. but that figure excludes indirect expenses like replacing damaged equipment and munitions expended in combat.

    dov zakheim, the pentagon's top budget official, has said that when all the costs are combined, he expects u.s. military activities in iraq to total $58 billion for the nine months from last january through september. that includes part of the buildup, the six weeks of heaviest combat that began march 20, and the aftermath.

    that sum, however, is what congress provided this year for defense department activities not only in iraq but also against terrorism worldwide including afghanistan, where u.s. military costs are running about $1 billion a month, according to officials.

    in a report last month, the nonpartisan congressional budget office projected that pentagon costs in afghanistan and iraq plus other u.s. military efforts against terrorism around the globe could reach $59 billion next year.

    "what is necessary is to achieve an overall strategy and whatever it takes to achieve the strategy, this administration is committed to," bush told reporters friday, adding that accurate cost projections would come "next year at the appropriate time."

    lawmakers, meanwhile, are girding for a white house request for another $40 billion to $50 billion for 2004.

    while acknowledging the difficulty of predicting iraq costs, even white house allies find political factors behind the administration's reluctance to discuss dollars.

    "they've got one eye on the deficit and they're trying to make sure the conservatives stay with them," said james dyer, republican chief of staff for the house appropriations committee. "having said that, we have to pay these bills whether there's a deficit or not."

    kolbe, who is traveling with other members of congress to iraq and afghanistan later this month, said the administration's reticence is "undermining the credibility that might exist" for the u.s. reconstruction of iraq. "we've got to get on with it here and start acknowledging what some of these costs are going to be."

    private groups have produced their own estimates on postwar costs in iraq.

    brookings institution fellows lael brainard and michael o'hanlon said in a financial times article this month that military and reconstruction costs could be from $300 billion to $450 billion.

    taxpayers for common sense said postwar costs over the next decade could range from $114 billion to $465 billion. the american academy of arts and sciences projected 10-year expenses from $106 billion to $615 billion.

    whatever the costs, administration officials have resisted making estimates on how much of them will be shouldered by u.s. taxpayers. huh???

    they cite several uncertainties: the future numbers and missions of u.s. troops, contributions by allies, and revenue from the hobbled iraqi oil industry and seized iraqi assets.
  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   SharonH, RN
    Amid all those billions of dollars, isn't it funny that the Pentagon and the "pro-military" Bush administration are supporting a pay cut for our active-duty soldiers even as they sit over in Iraq getting picked off one by one? I guess the sacrifices start with the people doing the actual work. Hmmph, I'm betting that there are still people who will get wind of this and say that Shrub is doing a wonderful job!

    Oh well, what is it they say? It's an all-volunteer military(support the troops!) and they knew what they were getting into, blah-blah-blah.... Besides if the soldiers continue to get that windfall of an extra $225/month(support the troops!) then how are they going to pay Haliburton all their millions of dollars to rebuild Iraq?(Support the troops!) Shoot, ya gotta have priorities.
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    And the Bushies have the nerve to act SURPRISED!?
    Last edit by VivaLasViejas on Aug 15, '03
  5. by   WashYaHands
    If you check the voting record of elected officials in the house and senate regarding the original legislation in April, only democrats in the house voted against keeping the defense spending as is or increasing it. In the senate, the majority of no votes were from democrats, one republican, and on independent.

    If this is a concern to you, then write your elected officials, as the legislation will need to be renewed in Sept. Will be interesting to see which party does support keeping hazardous duty pay and separation allowance in the defense budget.

  6. by   live4today
    I don't like the idea of the USA rebuilding Iraq. I think it would be better for them to teach the people how to survive, than to hand them a gold spoon on a silver platter. You know the ancient saying "It's better to teach a man how to fish so he can become a fisherman among many than to give a man the fish to eat because when the fish is all eaten up, the man with the handout comes begging again"?

    Emphasis should be placed on turning their country back into their own hands with better leadership.....NOT to westernize them in our way. Let them be who they are and want to be as long as they live nicely with their neighbors.

    Why do we always have to TAKE OVER other people's territory?
    Don't we have enough resources of our own and enough problems of our own to rectify?

    America is many countries tied into one as respresented by the various ethnic groups that live and work in our country. It's a great place to live and learn about people from all walks of life.

    If the OIL in Iraq was the main target of affection for our politicians to gain control of once getting that evil man and his sons out of office in Iraq, then shame on them for putting our country's men and women at great risk! Do NOT allow our men and women to continue dying in vain if our only intent in being in Iraq is for the GOLD for the prize always has a way of turning on its receiver when NOT earned in a morally accepted way and for the right reasons.
    Last edit by live4today on Aug 15, '03
  7. by   VivaLasViejas
    Great post, Renee!
  8. by   live4today
    Thanks mjlrn97! :kiss
  9. by   Brownms46
    Originally posted by mjlrn97
    Great post, Renee!

    Cheerful YOU have summed up the whole thing in one post..:kiss!!!
  10. by   Q.
    Originally posted by WashYaHands
    If you check the voting record of elected officials in the house and senate regarding the original legislation in April, only democrats in the house voted against keeping the defense spending as is or increasing it.


    Will be interesting to see which party does support keeping hazardous duty pay and separation allowance in the defense budget.

    Yes, it will be very interesting.
  11. by   live4today
    Well uhhhh...thank ya very much Brownie!
  12. by   Brownms46
    Cheerful it is my pleasure!
  13. by   Mkue
    If the OIL in Iraq was the main target
    I honestly don't think it was all about oil.. but it will be nice for Iraqi's to finally benefit from their oil and prosper.
  14. by   Brownms46
    Prosper how?? Benefit from their own oil??? I think not, since the US now has control oftheir oil! And we're deciding who will get the profits from the oil. We have already said no nation that didn't do GW's bidding, won't share in it. I don't believe for a minute we're going to give that control back!