Seven hundred billion dollars.
That’s how much Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, appearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee last week, said the Pentagon needs to continue the war in Iraq. Seven hundred billion for a war that’s supposed to be ‘in its last throes.’
To put that into perspective, when all this began in 2003, Congress approved $78.5 billion for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The funding bill Congress recently sent to President Bush would’ve provided the troops with over $124 billion, but it also required that troops start pulling out starting in the fall, so Bush vetoed it, as promised. When Bush asked for $100 billion with no timetable attached, the House Appropriations Committee balked. As of April 2007, about $418 billion has already been spent on the war. And remember when we were told the war would pay for itself through oil revenues?
If Gates were to get the funding he’s asking for, it would make the Pentagon the world’s 10th-largest economy. He and Bush could carpool to the G10 Summit, which would at least save on gas.
The frightening thing about this is that, compared to Donald Rumsfeld, Gates seems to be a straightforward guy. This is the man who, when asked during his confirmation hearing if the United States were winning the war in Iraq, answered ‘No sir’ without hesitation. If he says the Pentagon needs $700 billion, odds are it does.
Lately, war protest posters have been popping up here and there on campus. They display no club affiliation or ‘Post Until’ date