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As the Anniversary of the Iraq war has approached, there have been many groups looking back at the past several years. In hindsight, with recent reports of a spiraling National Budget, the linked article seems particularly relevant. On Monday, November 1st of 2004 additional translation of a tape purportedly by Osama Bin Laden was released. The full speech had not been released previously. Oddly, the section I’ll focus upon is the most damning. Not Damning of Osama Bin Laden and the al Qaeda network, but of our own Government.
Bin Laden states "We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.” “"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations,".
In a recent Bloomberg article , on January 13, 2005 the following was reported.
The U.S. spent $102 billion through Sept. 30 2005, on the invasion and occupation of Iraq, with costs averaging $4.8 billion a month. The $102 billion covers the period starting with the initial deployment of troops in the late fall and winter of 2002. Additionally, The U.S. Army will need to spend more than $10 billion this year to repair or replace vehicles that are wearing out at four times the expected pace due to heavy combat use in Iraq,
The U.S. has spent $39.8 billion through Sept. 30 billion in Afghanistan since the October 2001 invasion to displace the Taliban regime and attack al-Qaeda’s terrorist network.
The Federal budget for 2006 sits at $2.57 trillion. A partial breakdown is shown below. Information is from The Washington Post
Department of DefenseThe fiscal 2006 defense budget of $419.3 billion represents a 4.8 percent increase over fiscal 2005 in real terms, but is about $3 billion less than projected (My emphasis) for fiscal 2006 in last year's plan. This budget does not include an expected administration request for $80 billion in supplemental appropriations, including $75 billion for the Defense Department to cover the cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in the current fiscal year.
Department of Homeland SecurityThe Department of Homeland Security is proposing a budget of $29.3 billion for fiscal 2006, an increase of $258 million, or 1 percent. Including $4.8 billion in existing and new fees, its discretionary budget is $34 billion, a 6.8 percent increase. Including funds spent by other federal departments, the government is spending $49.9 billion on domestic defense, an increase of $3.9 billion, or 8.6 percent, from this year.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit, which has had massive financial shortfalls, would receive an increase of $490 million, or 13 percent.
Homeland Security also proposes spending an extra $90 million for new detention facilities for illegal immigrants after it had to release thousands of them because of inadequate bed space. The department plans to spend $36 million more on the Border Patrol, mostly to hire 210 new agents along the nation's borders -- a fraction of the 2,000 Congress said last year should be hired.
If you think that these two agencies are the sum of spending against Terrorism, you are wrong.
Department of AgricultureUSDA agencies involved in combating bioterrorism, developing a vaccine bank, and protecting the food system fare well in the new plan. No exact Dollar amount is given but the total agency budget is about $19 Billion.
Environmental Protection Agency
A total of $7.6 billion. The budget calls for a $79 million increase in EPA's homeland security programs, including a project to monitor contamination in select cities,
Department of JusticeTotal budget of $19.1 billion. Spending for the FBI would grow by $556 million, or 10 percent, to finance the hiring of 500 new intelligence analysts for the war on terrorism, boost the number of FBI translators and improve the effort to watchlist terrorist suspects.
How do other programs compare in spending? Lets look at two others. Both listed as priorities by the administration.
Department of Education
The administration is requesting $56 billion for the Department of Education. This is about 10% of the Department of Defense budget.
Department of EnergyThe Energy Department's budget $23.4 billion. Despite the fact that our government denies it, a major reason for our concern in the Middle East is oil. Heavy investment in new technology could end our perceived dependence on foreign fuel, perhaps forever.
As I hope these numbers show, we are spending ever more on an enemy that we seem unable to reach. This past week, the National Debt was raised yet again. The new debt limit is Congress $9 trillion. It equals about $30,000 for every person in the country. In the five years since President Bush took office, the debt limit has been increased by $3 trillion. This does not take into account that when Bush entered office, we had a budget surplus. Assuming this trend continued, we’d be $14.4 Trillion in debt by the end of his term. There are many who will say we cannot afford to ignore Osama Bin Laden and his ideological brethren. In pure dollar figures, I say we can’t afford continue with the same approach we have been using. If we keep trying to solve the problem by throwing money at it, then Osama Bin Laden has won.
posted by Greymagius @ 9:09 PM
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I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
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