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Another $46 Billion For the War

October 22, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Bringing Iraq back into the congressional limelight, President Bush submitted a $196.4 billion supplemental war funding bill to Congress today — $45.9 billion above what he originally requested in February. Announcing the bill in front of a group of veterans and members of military support organizations, Bush stressed that the money is for the troops:

>Last month, General Petraeus said he believes that our successes in Iraq mean we can maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces. I accepted this recommendation that we not replace about 2,200 Marines who left Anbar last month. We expect to bring home another 3,500 soldiers by Christmas. The funds in the supplemental are crucial to continuing this policy of “return on success.” Every member of Congress who wants to see both success in Iraq and our troops begin to come home should strongly support this bill.
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>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.

But Democrats in Congress insist that the money is mainly to fulfill what they see as President Bush’s misguided policies. House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-WI), who has said that he will not move the war money out of committee unless it includes a target withdrawal date among other things, said on October 2nd that rather than being a plan to bring home the troops, Bush’s latest war policy “is quite the opposite.”

>When you strip away the fog, it’s simply a plan to get us back six months from now to the same place we were six months ago before the surge began. It is not being undertaken because of any new determination to reduce troop levels. It is simply recognizing that we do not have enough troops to sustain the surge level. It’s a confession that the President has not a clue about how to get us out of that civil war and instead plans to punt the problem to his successor – ruining two administrations rather than just one.

And Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the Speaker of the House, responded to Bush’s request today by relating it to Congress’s most recent contentious battle over the children’s health care bill. “For the cost of less than 40 days in Iraq, we could provide health care coverage to 10 million children for an entire year,” Pelosi wrote on her blog, The Gavel.

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