Monday, January 11, 2010

Cost Of War Surges

Afghanistan - 1 of 2 costly wars 
Afghanistan - 1 of 2 costly wars

Congress has appropriated an additional $136.8 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the 2010 fiscal year.

The National Priorities Project estimates that for this fiscal year, $64.5 billion is directed to Iraq and $72.3 billion to Afghanistan.

These new appropriations bring total war-related spending for Iraq to $747.3 billion and for Afghanistan to $299 billion, with total war costs of $1.05 trillion the NPP says.

According to its calucations, the current year appropriations do not include funds to support the “surge” of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan proposed by the Obama administration on December 1, 2009. Conservative estimates suggest that it will cost approximately $30 billion to fund this surge. Supplemental appropriations for this funding are expected later this year.

Since 2001, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and related activities have been funded through emergency supplemental appropriations. In a clear departure from this practice, the Obama administration integrated the FY2010 war funding into the core budget appropriations process.

“While this process purportedly allows for greater scrutiny and control over the allocation of tax dollars relative to the emergency supplemental funding process, it has – ironically – also become more difficult to ascertain the exact spending amounts directed to Iraq and Afghanistan, said NPP senior researcher Barb Chalfonte.

"Past supplemental bills outlined funding almost exclusively for war costs whereas departmental appropriations combine these war costs with all other departmental funds for the entire fiscal year,” she said.

War funding was found within three separate appropriations bills with the bulk of money in the Defense Appropriations Bill passed just before Congress left for its winter break. In addition to defense funding, the bill was used to extend food stamp benefits and unemployment benefits and COBRA payments to continue health insurance coverage for the unemployed.

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Photo/U.S. Army

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