Wednesday, February 16, 2005

War News for Wednesday, February 16, 2005 Part Two of Six - Money Matters

Screw you, John: Democratic Sen. John Kerry, whose baffling explanation of votes on Iraq war funding hurt his 2004 White House bid, said on Tuesday he would back President Bush's new $81.9 billion request for Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I think we're in a very different situation," Kerry told reporters. "I'm going to vote for this ... I think this money is important to our being successful and to the completion of the process."

Bush's request is expected to be approved by lawmakers despite concerns in the U.S. Congress about record federal budget deficits.

How to blow $82,000,000,000: Senator Byron Dorgan convened a hearing to shed light on the recent revelations of contractor corruption in Iraq. Democratic Senators were fired up about the blatant fraud and theft from the American taxpayers. And since Bush’s new budget cuts education again, it is truly a theft from our children. No Republicans attended the hearing.

Senator Dorgan: "To see this kind of waste and this kind of corporate culture say, ’What the hell, it’s just the American taxpayer- stick it to ’em...’ Shame on them, shame on them. And shame on those who refuse to investigate... if we’re paying $2.60 today for gasoline [in Iraq], it ought to stop this afternoon."

Details of the corruption:

Halliburton has reportedly overcharged us $100 million dollars for fuel. They charged the US taxpayers $2.64 per gallon to import gasoline from Kuwait to Iraq, $1 more than the going rate. (Note- before the war, Iraqis bought gas for about a nickel per gallon.)

Halliburton charged for 42,000 meals per day when it only delivered 14,000 per day. "That’s not a snafu, that’s cheating," said Dorgan. No, Senator, that’s not cheating. It’s theft.

Buyers were instructed to purchase from ’preferred suppliers’ using purchase orders less than $2,500. (because these were not audited)

Instructed not to use spreadsheets to avoid generating any kind of electronic trail.

KBR managers frequently used phrases like, "don’t worry about the price, it’s cost plus".

Cost Plus contracts gave no motivation to keep costs down since the higher the price, the more $$ they made.

Halliburton has ’earned’ $9 billion in Iraq thus far.

Stealth DoD budget increase: The Bush administration asked Congress on Monday to provide $82 billion to cover unbudgeted costs in the global war on terrorism, but the request includes funds for a long-planned military reorganization and for activities such as tsunami aid that are seemingly unrelated to terrorism.

The president's supplemental request seeks $42.5 billion that would pay for military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan through September, the end of the 2005 federal fiscal year, as well as $12 billion more to refurbish and replace worn-out vehicles, weapons and equipment used in those operations.

The request includes $3 billion that is unrelated to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and $19 billion more that is not directly related to U.S. military costs there.

Among the extras is $5.3 billion to pay for a restructuring of the Army and, to a lesser degree, the Marine Corps. The administration chose to not include those items in the $419.3 billion defense budget for 2006 that Bush submitted to Congress last week.

That omission has raised bipartisan concerns among members of Congress, who criticized the president for using the supplemental request to further bolster an already escalating defense budget, and to fund programs that are unrelated to military operations.

This speaks for itself: With military costs since Sept. 11, 2001, now expected to exceed $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 $4.3 billion a month, and the war in Afghanistan runs another $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.

On average, the government spent a similar amount monthly on the Vietnam War between 1965 and 1975, according to figures, adjusted for inflation, from the Congressional Research Service.

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 $228 billion in approved spending.

The latest emergency proposal, $81.9 billion, includes $74.9 billion for the Defense Department. It includes some $12 billion that was requested to replace or repair worn-out and damaged equipment, including $3.3 billion for extra armor for trucks and other protective gear underscoring a sensitivity to earlier complaints by troops.

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 $65 billion a year. .


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?