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a passionate repentance

A Generational War

A Generational War

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may God stand
Congress Wrestles With Iraq Budget Crunch
Pentagon Warns of $4 Billion Shortfall

WASHINGTON (April 22) - Two days of Capitol Hill hearings on Iraq have produced some new details on Bush administration plans for the beleaguered campaign, but not all that lawmakers had hoped for.



Reuters
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said it's unlikely more foreign troops would come to Iraq.

The final session this week was scheduled for Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice also planned a rare visit to the Capitol on Thursday to meet with Republican lawmakers.

Her meetings were planned to give lawmakers a chance to hear a review of developments in Iraq and pose questions to one of President Bush's closest advisers, officials said Wednesday.

The Pentagon's top general said Wednesday that increased violence in Iraq is pushing the cost of the war over budget, threatening a $4 billion shortfall by late summer.

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the recent decision to extend the stay of some 20,000 troops will cost roughly $700 million more over three months. And the White House kept open the possibility that it will seek additional funds before the end of this election year.

''When the service chiefs last talked about this, there was, I think, a $4 billion shortfall,'' Myers told the House Armed Services Committee. ''We thought we could get through all of August. We'd have to figure out how to do September.''

The war is costing about $4.7 billion a month, officials said. Defense officials are studying their budget, which runs through Sept. 30, to determine whether some money can be moved from purchase programs or other Pentagon accounts, Myers said.

Lawmakers expect to have a defense bill in place by the time the new budget year begins Oct. 1. But the version Bush proposed had no money for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, legislators say the Pentagon could use money from that bill until extra money for the war is provided.


White House officials have already said they would propose a separate bill after this fall's elections - costing up to $50 billion - to pay for the wars.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he plans to attach an additional $20 billion for the 2004 year ending September to the 2005 defense bill now being considered.

Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said Wednesday the final decision on what was needed - and when - would be ''based on what the commanders in the field feel is necessary.'' McClellan said Pentagon officials have assured the White House they have the money they need.

On a day when nearly 70 people were killed by suicide bombers in Iraq's southern city of Basra, Myers and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz testified for the second time in as many days.


Over the two days of hearings before three panels, lawmakers asked whether there are enough American troops in Iraq; how power can be handed over from the occupation authority June 30 to an Iraqi government that is yet to be chosen; what can be done to relieve the burden of repeated and extended deployments that have fallen on troops.

They also wanted to know what the Pentagon would do if more troops are needed; Myers said they're working up a plan for who could go. They asked whether more foreign troops might come; Wolfowitz said not many would as long as the violence continues.

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., another senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also raised the possibility that compulsory military service might be necessary to relieve pressure on U.S. troops stretched around the globe.

The nation is engaged ''in a generational war here against terrorism,'' Hagel said. ''It's going to require resources.''

''Should we continue to burden the middle class who represents most all of our soldiers, and the lower-middle class?'' Hagel said. ''Should we burden them with the fighting and the dying if in fact this is a generational - probably 25-year - war?''

''I am not proposing a draft, but I think some kind of mandatory service for this country for all our citizens, for the privileged, the rich, all those who have a lot, should be something we take seriously here,'' Hagel said.

McClellan said a draft was not currently under consideration.
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This is a generational war against terrorism? How? It sounds a lot more like it's Bush's war against Iraq. And that it's becoming an open sore we have to deal with before it kills us.

Good will for America is dead. I mean..I don't expect that anyone in Europe is going to look at Iraq and Bush and shake his head. We've always had a problem with sorting out our truths from what we want to be true. And now it's becoming harder and harder to do. Europe is pulling it's soldiers, Asia is pulling it's soldiers, and sooner or later, we're going to be all alone in Iraq and wondering why it suddenly got so hot?

We should have waited for the UN. We should have done more study of the customs and the people before we went in. Understood about the Shiites and the Sunni.

It's too late now. Hindsight's always twenty twenty. I just hope this war doesn't swallow up Sam.
  • Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., another senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also raised the possibility that compulsory military service might be necessary to relieve pressure on U.S. troops stretched around the globe.

    Woah. Compulsory military service? On election year? This sounds crazy. Does Bush really hope to win this election drafting more people into army? I didn't realize things are that bad in US - is there really such a distinct pro-war majority among Republican voters? I know there's always this group of old, bitter people who think that sending young folk to war is good for them, but I thought this kind of thinking died out in Vietnam...
    • Note:

      It wasn't Bush saying that, it was Check Hagel who, although a Republican, is not Bush.

      Second of all, people have been talking about (although not doing anything about) reinstituting the draft for about a year already. But there is certainly not enough popular support to get it anywhere close to being passed.

      I think the REALLY weird thing is that he was suggesting some kind of compulsory military service OTHER than the draft. I can't imagine what he could be talking about and I don't think he really can either. He just knows the draft is a mondo-unpopular idea.
  • Lawmakers expect to have a defense bill in place by the time the new budget year begins Oct. 1. But the version Bush proposed had no money for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, legislators say the Pentagon could use money from that bill until extra money for the war is provided.

    White House officials have already said they would propose a separate bill after this fall's elections - costing up to $50 billion - to pay for the wars.


    That's just disgusting. The war is so incredibly expensive that they're not even going to pay for it with the normal military spending bill. They're going to wait until AFTER THE FRIGGIN ELECTION to even INTRODUCE the bill. Disgusting.
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