President Barack Obama will seek $83.4 billion in additional “emergency” funding for the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which if approved would bring the 2009 funding to around $150 billion and the overall costs of the two wars to nearly $1 trillion.
The use of emergency funding requests to avoid putting the war’s costs in the overall military budget was a tactic which Obama was a harsh critic of when the Bush Administration practiced it, and already some Congressmen are criticizing the new president for adopting the same “off the books” tactic as he continues to fight the same wars.
The request is in addition to the $534 billion military budget the administration unveiled earlier in the week. That budget was for fiscal 2010, and was an increase over 2009.
In February the first Obama budget proposal was made public, and he made a point of the importance of putting the war funding “on the books” at the time. Despite today’s request and the seemingly low-ball estimates in the proposed budgets, spokesman Robert Gibbs insists “this will be the last supplemental” the administration will bring forward to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, among the critics of the request, says it “will deepen and expand our military presence in Afghanistan indefinitely,” and that “it will prolong our occupation of Iraq through at least the end of 2011.” The Obama Administration intends to keep up to 50,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely.