2006 September 28 Thursday
Iraq War Costs Up While 2007 Looks Worse

The burn rate of money on the war in Iraq has risen 20% since 2005.

WASHINGTON -- A new congressional analysis shows the Iraq war is now costing taxpayers almost $2 billion a week -- nearly twice as much as in the first year of the conflict three years ago and 20 percent more than last year -- as the Pentagon spends more on establishing regional bases to support the extended deployment and scrambles to fix or replace equipment damaged in combat.

But the larger amounts of money being spent are still not enough to keep the Third Infantry Division and other divisions in fighting shape.

Col. Tom James, who commands the divisionís Second Brigade, acknowledged that his unitís equipment levels had fallen so low that it now had no tanks or other armored vehicles to use in training and that his soldiers were rated as largely untrained in attack and defense.

The rest of the division, which helped lead the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and conducted the first probes into Baghdad, is moving back to full strength after many months of being a shell of its former self.

But at a time when Pentagon officials are saying the Army is stretched so thin that it may be forced to go back on its pledge to limit National Guard deployment overseas, the divisionís situation is symptomatic of how the shortages are playing out on the ground.

Bob Woodward says US forces are now attacked in Iraq every 15 minutes, the Bush Administration is lying about how bad things are in Iraq and in 2007 Iraq is going to get much worse.

The situation is getting much worse, says Woodward, despite what the White House and the Pentagon are saying in public. "The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,'" he tells Wallace. "Now thereís public, and then thereís private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know," says Woodward.

US forces are getting hit by 800 to 900 attacks per week.

"It's getting to the point now where there are eight, 900 attacks a week. That's more than a hundred a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces," Woodward said in excerpts of the interview released on Thursday before the release of his book on the administration, called "State of Denial."

Most Iraqis support attacks on US troops.

About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and slightly more than that want their government to ask U.S. troops to leave within a year.

That's what a poll found that was done for the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes.

Are we fighting to help people who want us dead? Sure looks that way.

The approval rating of Iraqis for attacks on US troops has gone from 47% in January to 61% now. Most of the shift in opinion came from Shiites. Almost four fifths of Iraqis believe the presence of US troops increases the violence. I say we should trust the Iraqis on this score and leave.

Some experts think staying and leaving both make things worse.

"The predicament the United States faces right now is that we are basically bogged down in the shifting sand of Iraq, and the longer we stay, the more we provide ammunition to the jihadist leaders," said Fawaz Gerges, a visiting scholar at the University of Cairo and the author of "Journey of the Jihadist."

"But if we ... retreat from Iraq, the militants will be empowered," he said.

The Iraqis want us gone. I say we organize a national voter referendum in Iraq where the Iraqis get to vote whether our troops should stay. Respect the will of the democratic majority.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 September 28 10:21 PM  Mideast Iraq Costs


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