The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Wednesday, December 15

$1 trillion is coming

$1 trillion is coming

For those of you out there who so willingly support the War in Iraq, will you still support it when it reaches the cost of $1 trillion dollars? It's well on its way.

The Weekly Standard had a recent editorial by 2 AEI wonks on defense spending that seems to have flown under the radar. They cite a report by Steven Kosiak of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments with some budget figures in it that people really should be paying attention to.

Recent editorial in the Weekly Standard by Tom Donnelly and Vance Serchuk, respectively, resident fellow and research associate in defense policy at AEI.
Creating the force we need for the many missions we've given our military in the Middle East and around the globe will require between 5 percent and 6 percent of GDP. That's $500 billion to $600 billion a year, and it needs to be sustained for the foreseeable future. It's a lot of money--and it will take a lot of political courage to ask for it. But that is the price of preserving Pax Americana.
The editorial continues:
Steven Kosiak of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments has calculated that strictly military spending on Iraq will total about $166 billion by the end of the 2005 fiscal year. The bulk is eaten by personnel bills.
Spending on Defense, Homeland Security and Related Activities Since 9/11 PDF October 20, 2004 By Steven Kosiak
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, federal funding for defense, military operations (primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq), homeland security, and related activities has increased by a total of some $513 billion. This figure represents the level of funding appropriated for these programs and activities over the fiscal year (FY) 2001-05 period that is above what would have been projected to have been provided in these areas, over these years, had funding simply been increased at the rate of inflation.ii In real (inflation-adjusted) terms, funding for these programs and activities is about 35 percent higher in FY 2005 than it was just prior to the attacks of 9/11.
Note: about 1/3 of the $513 billion ($171 billion) is directly related to 9-11, according to the report.

The annual DoD budget is already $100 BILLION more than it was when Clinton was in office.
Department of Defense Appropriations Act

FY 2005 $$417.5 billion
FY 2004 $401.3 billion
FY 2003 $393 billion
FY 2002 $318 billion (enacted in 2001 under Bush)
FY 2001 $310 billion (enacted in 2000 under Clinton)
Above does not even include the Iraq and/or Afghanistan supplemental spending bills.

100,000 dead Iraqis wasn't enough. 1500 dead troops, not enough. Is the cost of $1 trillion dollars enough to finally say STOP?

When is enough going to be enough?

Monday, December 6

a new report and it's not pretty

Daily Kos has a post up on the Defense Science Board report.

Pentagon: Bush's 'hypocrisy' lost us hearts and minds
The war has increased mistrust of America in Europe, weakened  support for the war on terrorism, and undermined U.S. credibility worldwide. Media commentary is consistent with polling data. In a State Department (INR) survey of editorials and op-eds in 72 countries, 82.5% of commentaries were negative, 17.5%  positive.
That was from the report. Written by the Defense Science Board at the Pentagon.
There is consensus in these reports that U.S. public diplomacy is in crisis. Missing are strong leadership, strategic direction, adequate coordination, sufficient resources, and a culture of measurement and evaluation. America's image problem, many suggest, is linked to perceptions of the United States as arrogant, hypocritical, and self-indulgent. There is agreement too that public diplomacy could be a powerful asset with stronger Presidential leadership, Congressional support, inter-agency coordination, partnership with the private sector, and resources (people, tools, structures, programs, funding). Solutions lie not in short term, manipulative public relations. Results will depend on fundamental transformation of strategic communication instruments and a sustained long term, approach at the level of ideas, cultures, and values.

The number and depth of these reports indicate widespread concern among influential observers that something must be done about public diplomacy. But so far these concerns have produced no real change. The White House has paid little attention.
We haven't read the report yet. Should be interesting. Looking forward to the footnotes most especially.

Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication (PDF) 111 pages dated September 23, 2004

Wednesday, December 1


We're on hiatus. Hard to say when we'll be back. But if you stumble on this blog and need some sources for information on contracts, here are a few to check out.

Occupation Watch

International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq

Future of Iraq Portal

Iraq Revenue Watch

Also, please check out the Iraqi bloggers, as well as links in the side bar.