Obama: U.S. ‘Not at War With Islam’
President Barack Obama asked Congress on Thursday for $83.4 billion for U.S. military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for special troop funding that he opposed two years ago when he was senator and George W. Bush was president.
Obama’s request, including money to send thousands more troops to 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.
Obama is also requesting $350 million in new funding to upgrade security along the U.S.-Mexico border and to combat narcoterrorists, along with another $400 million in counterinsurgency aid to Pakistan.
“Nearly 95 percent of these funds will be used to support our men and women in uniform as they help the people of Iraq to take responsibility for their own future — and work to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, acknowledged that Obama has been critical of Bush’s use of similar special legislation to pay for the wars. He said it was needed this time because the money will be required by summer, before Congress is likely to complete its normal appropriations process…
…Some Democrats were not pleased.
“This funding will do two things — it will prolong our occupation of Iraq through at least the end of 2011, and it will deepen and expand our military presence in Afghanistan indefinitely,” said anti-war Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif. “Instead of attempting to find military solutions to the problems we face in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama must fundamentally change the mission in both countries to focus on promoting reconciliation, economic development, humanitarian aid, and regional diplomatic efforts.” Full Story
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