As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

We're Going Off Budget Again?

I thought that the Obama Administration was boldly putting the full cost of war back on budget so we can understand the costs and wouldn't play political games with votes. Someone wanna help me with this?

President Barack Obama is seeking $83.4 billion for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for a war supplemental spending bill like the ones he sometimes opposed when he was senator and George W. Bush was president.

Obama's request, including money to increase U.S. troops in Afghanistan, would push the costs of the two wars to almost $1 trillion since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the Congressional Research Service. The additional money would cover operations into the fall.

I fail to understand the reason why this is being sought off budget. It violates campaign promises and the initial budget proposal. I guess the foreign aid, including aid to Pakistan for economic development, is included in the bill, and perhaps that was imperiled without being combined with war funding. But it's all very curious. And depressing.

See also Stephen Walt on this, wondering whether the threat of safe havens - or even terrorism itself - even justifies escalating a war in South Asia. A welcome antidote to the pieces I've seen on the "progressive" side of the ledger. Excerpting:

In short, my concern is that we are allowing an exaggerated fear of al Qaeda to distort our foreign policy priorities. Having underestimated the danger from al Qaeda before 9/11, have we now swung too far the other way? I am not arguing for a Pollyanna-like complacency or suggesting that we simply ignore the threat that groups like al Qaeda still pose. Rather, I'm arguing that the threat is not as great as the administration -- and most Americans, truth be told -- seem to think, and that the actual danger does not warrant escalating U.S. involvement in Central Asia.

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