Thursday :: May 13, 2004

Feeding The Dogs Of War

by pessimist

Military Missions in Afghanistan, Iraq May Cost $66 Billion in '05

U.S. military costs in Iraq and Afghanistan are running close to $4.7 billion a month, and with the additional expense of replenishing worn armored vehicles, helicopters and other equipment, they could easily reach $66 billion for fiscal 2005.

The estimates are based on updated Pentagon calculations provided to Congress, which last night received President Bush's request for a $25 billion contingency reserve fund to support the two operations in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

Most of the reserve is designated for Army and Marine operations, but
the White House wants maximum flexibility, even as it acknowledges that the
$25 billion isn't sufficient, given Iraq's stepped-up insurgency.

More new funds are sure to be needed next spring, and the rising costs
underscore the financial strain of the continued occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Annual costs are more than half of the inflation-adjusted spending on the Vietnam War, the last major extended conflict for the U.S.

In the peak years in Vietnam -- 1967 to 1969 -- when U.S. forces topped 500,000, the U.S. spent on average about $117 billion a year. By comparison, U.S. forces total about 136,000 in Iraq and 14,000 in Afghanistan, and costs are
expected to run about $65 billion a year in both 2004 and 2005. High personnel costs are a factor in the pressure from some lawmakers either to expand substantially the U.S. presence in Iraq or to consider pulling out altogether.

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said higher-than-predicted deployments of 135,000 to 136,000 troops would be needed "for the foreseeable future," and it wouldn't be until this fall or early winter before "we will have a pretty good lens about what the way forward is."

"It's going to get worse before it gets better," he said, warning that "there is no doubt the Army is using their equipment up at a very, very fast rate."

"I look at Iraq, and all I can say is, I hope it comes out well, and I believe it will," Mr. Rumsfeld said.

"God willing, we hope you're right," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican. "We certainly pray you're right, as a matter of fact."

Impeach Rumsfeld now!

pessimist :: 7:31 PM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!