Bush and Dems arm wrestle over Iraq War money: The Swamp
 
The Swamp
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Posted October 22, 2007 4:20 PM
The Swamp

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President Bush, flanked by representatives of military support organizations and military family members, urges Congress to approve additional Iraq and Afghanistan war spending at a White House event, October 22, 2007 Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

by Frank James

Another day, another chance for both President Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress to try and score points with their respective political bases over Iraq.

Bush came to the White House’s Roosevelt Room to announce he had asked Congress for $46 billion more in emergency funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for fiscal 2008. Congressional Quarterly reports that would come on top of the $196.4 billion in fiscal 2008 spending he had asked for earlier in the year.

The president sought to raise the pressure on the Democrats by saying that the money is largely for the troops’ daily needs, to help protect them from improvised explosive devices, for instance, as well the continued training of those Iraqi troops who will eventually replace Americans.

Bush said:

I know some in Congress are against the war, and are seeking ways to demonstrate that opposition. I recognize their position, and they should make their views heard. But they ought to make sure our troops have what it takes to succeed. Our men and women on the front lines should not be caught in the middle of partisan disagreements in Washington, D.C. I often hear that war critics oppose my decisions, but still support the troops. Well, I'll take them at their word -- and this is the chance to show it, that they support the troops.

Thus did the president attempt to hamstring the legislative branch from exercising the one power both Democrats and Republicans agree Congress indisputably possesses when it comes to winding down unpopular wars—the power of the purse. Bush's formula was that withholding any of the president's requested equals not supporting the troops. It didn't take much to envision the campaign ads that could run against Democrats on this theme.

Meanwhile, Democrats took the opportunity to portray the president as sacrificing domestic priorities for a misbegotten war he on which he was willing to spare no expense.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used the president’s recent veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, to criticize the president’s additional war-spending request. Democrats have sought to demonstrate to Americans that the president’s priorities aren’t the same as theirs, and that there are significant opportunity costs to the Iraq War.

Reid said:

“Today the President is asking Congress for more than $40 billion in additional funds for the war in Iraq and for Afghanistan. That would bring the total he has asked for in emergency funds for this year to nearly $200 billion – that’s $200 billion on top of the $450 billion in emergency funds we have already borrowed for the Iraq war.

“President Bush wants us to rubber stamp another $200 billion in war funds – all borrowed money, none of it paid for – for next year alone. But when we sent a bipartisan CHIP bill to his desk to provide health insurance for the children of working families, the President called it too expensive. Let’s remember, every dime of the money for CHIP was paid for.

“It’s no wonder the American people are frustrated. Democrats continue to fight for America’s priorities while the President continues investing only in his failed war strategy – even as most of his own Pentagon leadership is now on record saying that our ground forces are stretched dangerously thin because of the current Iraq strategy….

Where Congress goes from here is unclear. According to CQ:

Congress is not expected to pass a new war funding measure this calender year, although it will have to provide some additional money. Earlier this month, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey, D-Wis., said he will not move a war funding bill out of his committee in 2007, saying the president must change his policy in Iraq before Obey will advance the bill.

Senate leaders have neither endorsed nor dismissed Obey’s plan, saying they are waiting for the revised request to make a decision on war spending.

Congress must provide some sort of spending to fund war operations over the next few months while Democrats and the administration continue to face off over Iraq.

Two primary options exist for providing this funding. The first is to allow the Defense Department to borrow against its base fiscal 2008 budget, but the appropriations bill (HR 3222) providing those funds has not been enacted.

That bill, or another appropriations measure, also could include enough emergency funding — a “bridge fund” — dedicated solely to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to last the military a few months. Congress has used bridge funding in the past…

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Congress has appropriated $610 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as for operations launched shortly after the attacks to protect military bases, according the Congressional Research Service. Of that amount, CRS estimates, about $450 billion has been or will be used for operations in Iraq.

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Comments

Perhaps if the tremendous progress in bringing violence in Iraq under control were adequately reported by the media, there would be more understanding in Congress of the need to fund the stablization of the conflict and to move
forward on a permanent solution.


Bush is holding a gun to heads of the U.S. Troops.

Pay for HIS war or they die... and he will then blame congress.

This is nothing more than extortion.


The Lil Repiglicans are up to their dirty little tricks again.


A quick look into the mind of the dark heartless greedy rightwing lunitic fringe:

Billions upon unaccounted for billions for a civil war in Iraq = GOOD :o)

Money for healthcare for our children here in America = BAD :o(


Congress has got to stand up to this idiot now. Just tell him no. The best way to take care of our troops is to bring them back home where they belong - now. Then after we pay off the half trillion Bush has already funneled to his friends, we can get back to supporting biomedical research, education, and our infrastructure. Bush has crippled our country badly, but if Congress just has the guts to do what we elected them to do, we may work our way out of this - in 30 or 40 years.


and to move
forward on a permanent solution.

Posted by: Halsted | October 22, 2007 4:27 PM

What permanent solution?

The Iraqi Government has officially given up on reconciliation. They aren't even trying to make a permanent solution.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/07/AR2007100701448.html


For a long time now we have heard the rhetorical thumping and McCarthyistic name calling from the hard core goons on the right calling all who oppose thier war...defeatists. Well congratulations losers, the terrorists have won thanks to you We have spent an amount of money that we will never recover from. We have lost 4K brave patriots. We did this all to attack a country where Al-Quaeda never was until then, to remove a dictator that "we" had no business removing. To find WMD's that weren't there, and divide our country to appease the 26% idiots that want a little pay-back for 9/11. You didn't finish the "real" war on terror in Afghanastan, and now you want 46 BILLION more for "this" year. You will run this country into the ground in the name of the flag. LOSERS!!!!!


Is this going to be one of the last chances for the Democrats?

They will come out with a lot of bluster. They'll talk about the American public being against the war. They'll talk about the waste of money and human lives.

When all of the dust settles, they will not get ONE item of compromise from Bush and the Republicans and they will give Bush and the Republicans everything they are asking for.

If the Democrats think that this type of thing is going to take them into a winning position in 2008, they are sadly mistaken.


Perhaps if the tremendous progress in bringing violence in Iraq under control were adequately reported by the media, there would be more understanding in Congress of the need to fund the stablization of the conflict and to move
forward on a permanent solution.

Posted by: Halsted | October 22, 2007 4:27 PM

You mean the "progress" like the fact the we've killed all ten of the Al-Qaeda guys in Iraq?

Or, that we are currently endlessly occupying a country that has no intention whatsoever of making the tough political reconsiliations that we are asking them to make?

Or, that the Govt that the Iraqi's do have is holed up in the "green zone" in Baghdad because they would be executed by the "freedom loving" Iraqi citizens if they ever attempted to walk the streets alone?

Yeah, you're right, we really haven't heard enough about this "progress", so maybe we should just throw some more of China's cash at the situation and let our grandkids worry about the endless debt since that has been working so well up until now.


The spoilt little snot nosed President just doesn't get it through his thick skull that the majority of Americans are tired of the mess in Iraq as well as his stubborness and lying to the American people.

The Congress and the Senate should tell little George the "Weasel President" that the purse strings are cutoff to his little adventure in the Middle East. Tell him as well that it is time for impeachment and kick his Ass and Deferrment Dick Cheney's asses out of the Whitehouse. They as well should be charged as War Criminals for their lies for starting the War in Iraq.


Hooray for Congressman Obey. It's about time someone in congress told Bush his plan will be VETOED by congress and he'd better think up another approach. Let's see, healthcare for underpriviledged kids in the U.S. or more dollars for occupying a foreign country? I say bring the troops home now and Veto Bush's request.


Congress should summon the spine to say no: No more funding, non more lives lost no more lies from the administration that got us into this mess in the first place.

Of course that will never happen. Democrats are afraid of their own shadow. They don't want to be branded as being unpatriotic. So they'll posture, Bush will threaten, and in the end, he'll get his money and more senseless American deaths to boot.


Halsted: First of all, thank you for your dedicated service to the country. It is most impressive that you would take time from your duties on the front line in Anbar to write to the civilians back in Chicago.

Second, we've been in Iraq for almost five years with no end in sight. I think we're pretty much in the middle of the permanent solution right now. Of course, a brave hero like you just does his duty to save our freedoms, right, tough guy?


Perhaps if the tremendous progress in bringing violence in Iraq under control were adequately reported by the media, there would be more understanding in Congress

Posted by: Halsted | October 22, 2007 4:27 PM

Experts Doubt Drop In Violence in Iraq
Military Statistics Called Into Question

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 6, 2007; A16

The U.S. military's claim that violence has decreased sharply in Iraq in recent months has come under scrutiny from many experts within and outside the government, who contend that some of the underlying statistics are questionable and selectively ignore negative trends.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/05/AR2007090502466_pf.html

Well halsted, perhaps if you look for the truth instead of parroting chaney, ghouliani, limbaugh and hannity you might gain some understanding.

We destroyed Iraq, killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. The infrastructure is in ruins and not getting better. The "elected Iraqi government" actually controls a small fraction of the country. If you see a "permanent solution" in here anywhere jump in.


I know some in Congress are against the war, and are seeking ways to demonstrate that opposition. I recognize their position, and they should make their views heard.

Is this bozo kidding? 70% of this country wants out of this mismanaged war. He hasn't heard our views, what makes us believe he would hear theirs? 75% want health care for children...does this clown hear that?


Halsted,
Please regurgitate another one of Bush's sheeple-friendly war pitch's for us, would ya?
Baaaa-baaaaa.....


People who think that suddenly troops will be drawn out of Iraq are delusional. Every Dem presidential candidate who has a prayer of winning, and thus, is potentially accountable for what they say, refuses to commit to no troops in Iraq by 2013. The Congress, the President and 75% of the country supported this incursion into Iraq. This isn't a video game we can turn off because things aren't going well. It has been a quagmire ever since the invasion, but it is our quagmire. We broke it and now we bought it. Those of you who like to say this is "Bush's war", I have news for you - Bush will be gone in January '09 and the Iraq situation will still be here. We are a little beyond the point of whining that we are there in the first place. We can’t change the past. The situation is what it is, and needs to be dealt with.

There will be troops in Iraq in 2013 and beyond. We still have troops stationed in Germany, Japan and Korea from conflicts of 50+ years ago. What we should all hope for is that the mission in Iraq can evolve as it has in Japan & Germany - from conquerors, to occupiers, to protectors of a fragile state, and ultimately, to allies with strategic bases on their soil. I’ll be the first to admit this has not gone according to plan, due mainly to poor post-Saddam planning and a gross underestimating of the murderous lengths insurgents will undertake to undermine any semblance of stability in that country.

A blinkin, I want to thank you for your service in Afghanistan, and taking the time to still write on this blog. I remember earlier this year, you were patriotically recruiting for the military by calling on everyone who opposed a troop withdrawal to enlist, and if they refused, they must be a chickennut or a winghawk or whatever drivel you were spewing that day. You said you supported the offensive in Afghanistan, and that they didn't have enough troops because of Iraq. I said to you that using your own logic, doesn't it make you a chickenhawk by supporting military force in Afghanistan, acknowledging that they are understaffed, yet letting others fight for you? You agreed with me that your stance was hypocritical, and went to enlist the next day. You are a true American hero, A blinkin.


"Well, I'll take them at their word -- and this is the chance to show it, that they support the troops."

Mr. President, when can we take YOU at YOUR word?


"A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.

To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution."

None of those Benchmarks have been met. The Iraqi Government has officially given up on passing any of the listed legislation.

When will we hold the Iraqi government to these benchmarks Mr. President?


"BIG POPPY SPEAKS" YO YO YO, MO MONEY MO MONEY MO MONEY"

WHY, DON'T EVER ASK THE PREACHER MAN WHY HE NEEDS A NEW CAR!

PLUS THAT'S WHY THEY CALL HIM BIG POPPY, JUST THROW YOUR COUNTRY IN THE AIR AND KILL IT LIKE YOU JUST DON'T CARE.

Condi to Bush this weekend while sand bowling with the Saudis.

Oh by the way forget the children that may have to grow up and fight this war. Five years ago a lot of eigth graders didn't think that they would have to opt college for Iraq in small cities across the country.

AND THAT'S WHY THEY CALL HIM BIG POPPY.


herbie H.....You're right. Shame on a president using the emotions and patrionage for a misguided war.


So, herbie, posting from Iraq? If not, get your chickenhawk butt over to there post haste.


What's up with this "emergency funding" garbage?


This is an issue that the Dems can finally stand up and say "We will only approve funds that provide for the safety of the troops and we will decide what that amount is." If the only power that you have is that of the purse, then use it an make sure that Bush, Cheney and the rest of big spenders in Washington get the message along with all of the citizens who pay taxes and support starting to end this debacle. Maybe an action like that will give the 70% that support expansion of medical coverage for kids some hope that their votes in 2006 meant something.


Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, formerly our top commander in Iraq, just retired and calls Iraq "the nightmare that never ends". He rightly points out that the people of Iraq must forge the political will to govern themselves and until that happens our efforts are for naught. Mr. Bush is always talking about listening to our military in the field. Here is his chance!


Hey, what happened to all those profits from selling oil from Iraq? Wasn't that suppose to pay for the Iraq war?


Congress should tell Bush to get bent. Bush is a straight up A-Hole!!!


Q: Hey, what happened to all those profits from selling oil from Iraq? Wasn't that suppose to pay for the Iraq war?

Posted by: RomanB | October 22, 2007 9:45 PM

A: OPEC


We need to get our troops out of Iraq. They are dying in this war that has no clear purpose. Bush should never have been elected for his second term. We need a president that actually cares for the american people. Not a president that just cares about his own personal gain.


Frank, Gen. Sanchez also said the media is responsible for the deaths of our military folk in Iraq because of the lies and distortions they report and for stirring up the Islam lunatics with their lies and distortions. That bit of Sanchez's comments was largely ignored by the media.

Anyway, if anyone wants to find out just how unhinged the Loony Left has become go to youtube and watch the fracas between Bill Maher, a committed lefty himself, and the far loony left.
That but of Loony Left behavior just proves that the worst mankind has to offer BY FAR is the Loony Left. UnAmerican traitors all!!


Interesting reading from the former Iraqi Deputy Ambassador to the UN, and one of the principal authors of the Iraqi Constitution:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21364048/

“What did we accomplish, exactly, [with] this push towards an appearance of institutions ... merely an appearance?” he asked.

“Except that an American politician can stand up and say, ‘Look what we accomplished in Iraq.’ When, in fact, what we accomplished in Iraq over the last three years has been chaos and instability.”


If a bunch of Blackhawks kill innocent Iraqi bystanders, that wouldn't enrage anyone into taking-up terrorism, would it?
If Kurd sepratists invade Turkey from Iraq & kill a dozen Turkish soldiers, that wouldn't stir-up anyone, would it?

But, hey. Let's blame that liberal media for stirring-up Islamic terrorism. If only Bush could get conservatives to censor the media.


That but of Loony Left behavior just proves that the worst mankind has to offer BY FAR is the Loony Left. UnAmerican traitors all!!

Posted by: John D | October 23, 2007 9:43 AM

John D you are a confirmed nut. Day in and day out you subject us to your mindless, childish attacks on the left wing of American politics. GROW UP!

Just because somebody has a different opiniondoesn't make them unamerican or traitors. What they are is concerned that the current administration's policies are harming America in ways that you are clearly incapable of understanding.


Stop the madness. Iraq never attacked or threatened us; we should not be over there fighting for lies. Stop funding insanity and being the middle man in a bona fide civil war that we initiated by destroying the central government of Iraq. We will leave eventually when our country is bankrupt, or a new president is sworn in, or Bush is impeached. So, let's just leave now and save our money and soldiers lives.


I read all of these comments on this issue with the Iraq War and wonder if we should be spending our energy on a topic that you yourselves have to admit is ultimately out of our hands. Don't get me wrong, it was a wonderfully fascinating read. The Iraq war is getting more attention than it should be getting from people and media trying to give candidates credit or to bash them. We are already in Iraq and I support the war as long as our government chooses. However, as the world progresses it is meant to increase in chaos, so we can't expect the world to be perfect. Out of all of the history books you have read have you read anything to the contrary? The government does waste money, that is for sure. If there was a way to watch more carefully how the budget was used, our country would not be so far in debt. I know a lot of soldiers who were in Iraq and they admit that gov. spending is ridiculous. I am worried for our country because I see all of this political bashing on both sides and I don't want to have to choose between them because I don't believe either of the choices are going to end well.
That was a jumbled mixture of my thoughts. I hope it contributes to this topic.


Eh... as a soldier I will say this. I enlisted in the army to protect and serve my country. I am sick and tired of some of your immature posts on these matters that are important to us.

I wont try to get involved with who is at fault.. But I do know that taking money away from us doesn't bring us home.. It will only lead to greater loss and less progress.

Regardless of what is right here, we are making progress.. Sometimes it is very slow, and sometimes it comes in leaps and bounds. I will agree that the media is not accurately reporting what happens over here, and soldiers cant talk about it because we are governed by Operational Security.

Either way.. Its quite interesting to watch people argue over something they know very little about.

And A. Blinken:
"It is most impressive that you would take time from your duties on the front line in Anbar to write to the civilians back in Chicago."

"Of course, a brave hero like you just does his duty to save our freedoms, right, tough guy?"

Your here complaining about something that doesn't directly affect you, I would like to see how much complaining you would do if you were actually in a position that takes away all the luxury's you have in the states. Not to mention the fact that you or your friends might lose their lives. I think your attitude might change a little bit... Tough Guy


The biggest problem here is that the Dems, ostensibly the opposition party, is funded by the same war profiteers as the Reps. They gained a majority in congress due to anti-war sentiment, yet one of the first things that Nancy Pelosi did when gaining speakership of the house was to shirk her Constitutional Duty to impeach, "taking it off the table". The DLC's annointed Queen Hillary voted for the war, yet somehow she has become the darling of the Dems, as she undercuts EVERY democratic principle. Crown Prince Obama who got his senate seat due to his fiery anti-war rhetoric, has gone so far as to call for invading Iran. Keep in mind that the mass media in this country is entirely owned by the war profiteers, so OF COURSE they do not give much coverage of the few candidates on the ballot who actually OPPOSE the war along with the vast majority of Americans. Simple facts should be brought up here. We should not have invaded Iraq to take down a dictator We put in place. (Hussein's status as a CIA operative that was brough to power through US intervention is well documented if you care to look). Occupation NEVER works, it only drains the resources of one state to encourage terrorism in another. IF the US admitted that it made a mistake in invading Iraq, turned Bush, Cheney, et al. into the ICC for proper legal punishment under international law, and asked the world community to assist in helping Iraq rebuild ITSELF, we could end this. Unfortunately the war profiteers have deep pockets and continue buying politicians on both sides of the aisle to ensure that such a rational approach to this is not even mentioned.


How about we suggest that Bush get his bridge funding from his cronies who "lost" umpteen BILLION bucks? And the billions the Pentagon can't find? I'll bet that would be a great incentive for locating all that "lost" money. Second, how about a bill that switches the Executive Branch's coverage to CHIP? D'ya suppose he might be willing to fund it THEN?

If we actually had an independent news media, just the Bush stances on what he wants money for and what he won't fund (including much of NCLB), and just how much money has been disappeared all told, and how much "reconstruction" money has gone to friends and relatives and relatives of friends, etc, with what results (we've spent more on the "rebuilding" of Iraq - with essentially zero results - than we did in adjusted dollars on rebuilding Japan). If the public knew just how much of their tax money has gone straight into the pockets of crony corporations for absolutely NOTHING, they might understand those of us who object to pouring more money down that particular rat hole.

Something I'd like to see is a documentary of Bush's lies about his priorities, then his contradictory statements later, then the results of his refusing to fund true necessities, and so on, one thing after another. THAT would be a must-see!

Ian


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