Bush seeks $87 billion for Iraq

Bush addresses the nation on the Iraq crisis. (Courtesy of the AP)

Bush addresses the nation on the Iraq crisis. (Courtesy of the AP)

Last Sunday,in a nationally televised address, the President said that he will ask Congress to double the amount already being spent on the Iraqi conflict. He also urged the United Nations to play a greater role in the rebuilding effort. This was his first major speech on Iraq since May 1, when he stood on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln and declared an end to major combat operations.
Bush plans to ask Congress for $87 billion in additional military and reconstruction spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, significantly more than the range administration officials had given lawmakers.
President Bush did not mention that that’s $87 billion in addition to the $75 billion Congress appropriated in late March. He also did not discuss the long-term expense. The financial costs of the war, which now stand at $166 billion, will only be enough for one year.
Lawmakers and their aides were stunned that the amount was more than twice what they had expected only weeks ago and far more than the administration had suggested would ever be necessary, either before the war or during consideration of the $78.5 billion wartime bill Bush signed in April.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean said Sunday night that Bush still has not explained how he will resolve “the mess” in Iraq. “A 15-minute speech does not make up for 15 months of misleading the American people on why we should go to war against Iraq, or 15 weeks of mismanaging the reconstruction effort since we have been there,” Dean said. (from cnn.com)
Bush admitted that in regard to major aspects of the operation, his administration had taken a wrong turn. According to cnn.com, he also mentioned that, “they had underestimated the aftermath of the war.” He said that the “level of the threat posed by Saddam’s regime was miscalculated and the adminstration overplayed their rejection of the United Nations and the assistance required from other countries.”
A writer in The New York Times said, “It’ll be up to historians to decide whether the United States erred in acting virtually unilaterally against Iraq, but it’s immediately obvious that gratuitously alienating allies was a mistake.”
Although the U.S. invaded Iraq without the support of many countries, Bush said on Sunday that the United States cannot succeed in reconstructing Iraq without greater involvement of the United Nations, the deployment of more international forces, and the financial contributions of allies in Europe, the Middle East and Japan. He also said that the United States cannot transform Iraq without more help from the Iraqi people themselves.