Gates: Iraq ‘at Risk’ if Congress Doesn’t Fund State Dept Programs

Warns Iraq Will End Up Like 1990s Afghanistan Without Extra Billions

One would think, with all the time spent pressing Congress for the record 2011 Defense Department budget and the even more record 2012 Defense Department budget, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would have a pretty full plate.

Not so, it seems, as the Defense Secretary spent today at the Senate Armed Services Committee, which was expected to be used to push for that 2012 Pentagon budget instead to press for a dramatic increase in funding for the State Department.

According to Gates, the $5.2 billion in funding for the State Department’s occupation of Iraq, which will begin at the end of the year when the Defense Department’s occupation is scheduled to end, is “a critically urgent concern.”

Gates insisted that the US needed to continue its programs going forward, and warned that the situation could end up like 1990s Afghanistan. Most Senators appeared eagerly on board with throwing the money at the State Department, much of which will be used to hire a “private army” for them, but many (including Gates) also expressed hope that the Defense Department could continue the occupation going forward.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.