WASHINGTON – The Pentagon wants the White House to seek an additional $99.7 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to information provided to The Associated Press.
The military’s request, if embraced by President Bush and approved by Congress, would boost this year’s budget for those wars to about $170 billion.
Military planners assembled the proposal at a time when Bush is developing new strategies for Iraq, such as sending thousands of more U.S. troops there, although it was put together before the president said the troop surge was under consideration.
Overall, the war in Iraq has cost about $350 billion. Combined with the conflict in Afghanistan and operations against terrorism elsewhere, the cost has topped $500 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
Keep this story in mind when Republicans tell you any and all proposed health care reforms will be too expensive.
Keep this story in mind when Republicans tell you it’s useless to keep “throwing money” at failing public schools.
Keep this story in mind when Republicans talk about how hospitals can’t afford to treat the uninsured, or immigrants, or children of immigrants, or the poor, and should be allowed to turn patients away because there’s just not enough money, apparently, to go around in this country anymore.
Keep this story in mind when you read about the homeless, as you assuredly will, this being the season when local news does their one segment on homelessness, and people grumble about supporting the poor.
Keep this story in mind when your kid’s teachers go out on strike because they’re not getting paid squat, and education adminstration officials say there’s no money in the budget.
Keep this story in mind when you read about the next tuition hike at your alma mater, because the school simply can’t get enough money from its state.
Keep this story in mind when you see photos of the devastation from Katrina, nearly a year and a half afterward, and wingnut bloggers write about whether or not poor people deserve to have their homes rebuilt.
Keep this story in mind when the local police department disbands its gang or drug unit because of budget constraints.
Keep this story in mind when your local park district has to ask for donations to buy new swings because the tax-revolting residents refused to approve its referendum.
Keep this story in mind when you get your heating bill, or put another $30 worth of gas into your car.
Keep this story in mind when you file for veterans’ benefits.
Keep this story in mind when those benefits are denied you.
Keep this story in mind every time one of your wingnut relatives or acquaintances opens his or her yap this holiday season about how the new Democratic Congress is gonna bleed this country dry.
Keep this story in mind, and then think about all the things we’re willing to pay for, the things we’re willing to sacrifice for, the things we send bills to Congress for, without a second thought. Without ever once questioning the cost. We are a wealthy nation. There’s nothing we can’t afford to do if we want to do it badly enough, if the people in charge want to do it badly enough and no one else wants badly enough to stop them. The only limit is the direction of our desires. This story is proof of that, if nothing else, so keep it in mind.