Chimpy is spending more on war than ever before.
With military costs since Sept. 11, 2001, now expected to exceed US$300 billion, the Pentagon is spending more per soldier to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere than it did during earlier conflicts.
According to government figures, the war in Iraq costs about US$4.3 billion a month, and the war in Afghanistan runs another US$800 million. That money goes for a variety of things, including fuel, ammunition, hazard pay for the soldiers and repair and replacement of weapons and vehicles.
The United States spent US$623 billion on the Vietnam conflict, according to the service, using figures adjusted for inflation. If Bush’s new US$81.9 billion emergency request is implemented, U.S. war costs since the Sept. 11 attacks will approach half that.
The Bush administration has been financing the wars through a series of emergency spending measures, all paid for with borrowed money. Including reconstruction spending, those have totaled US$228 billion in approved spending.
The latest emergency proposal, US$81.9 billion, includes US$74.9 billion for the Defense Department. It includes some US$12 billion that was requested to replace or repair worn-out and damaged equipment, including US$3.3 billion for extra armor for trucks and other protective gear – underscoring a sensitivity to earlier complaints by troops.
Here’s the kicker.
The total request exceeds the annual defense budget of every other country in the world, according to figures supplied by the Center for Defense Information. The organization says Russia, with the second-largest military budget, spends US$65 billion a year.