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"$50 Billion" Iraq War is $225 Billion & Counting - Troop Tours Extended Again

If a one-year price tag of $95 billion materializes from the Pentagon budget estimates that are now being prepared, it will drive the war costs to $225 billion and counting since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Capitol Hill lawmakers, already locked into a decade of deficit spending, are in denial about the skyrocketing costs. Republicans eagerly pointed out this week that the final numbers were not yet in.

The Pentagon has ordered about 6,500 soldiers in Iraq to extend their tours, the first step the military has taken to increase its combat power there in preparation for the January elections, senior Defense Department officials said Friday.
Post-Election Sticker Shock

Published: October 30, 2004
 http://nytimes.com/2004/10/30/opinion/30sat1.html

It's not too soon to talk about the problems the winner of Tuesday's election will face. One of the biggest is the hemorrhaging cost of the war in Iraq.

The Bush administration, which got an early $25 billion down payment for the new fiscal year with the certainty of asking for more, has left the 2005 war budget's bottom line conveniently blank until after the voters have spoken. But the estimates already circulating say that the president will have to ask for as much as $70 billion more and that the next Congress will have to approve the request in February if the military burdens of Iraq, and to a smaller extent Afghanistan, are to be faced realistically.

If a one-year price tag of $95 billion materializes from the Pentagon budget estimates that are now being prepared, it will drive the war costs to $225 billion and counting since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Capitol Hill lawmakers, already locked into a decade of deficit spending, are in denial about the skyrocketing costs. Republicans eagerly pointed out this week that the final numbers were not yet in.

That's true, but there is little doubt about the general size of the next budget request. Whatever the final number is, it will reflect the hard fact that Iraq is draining far more in blood and treasure than was ever anticipated before the administration's dream of a tidy war turned to ashes. The White House confidently estimated last February that the war's annual cost was unlikely to exceed $50 billion. But that estimate was based on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's odd notion that the United States could conquer, hold and rebuild Iraq with just a few divisions - and Mr. Rumsfeld believed that most of them would have been home by now. The White House also failed to account for the possibility that the Iraqis might resist the occupation, much less for the fierce insurgency that took hold.

Costs rose as the Pentagon was forced to maintain tens of thousands more troops in Iraq than it had planned, straining the Army to the point where some 90 percent of its men at arms are either in Iraq, headed to Iraq or rotating out of Iraq for much-needed rest. Now there are demands for even more soldiers to try to secure enough of Iraq to attempt face-saving elections in January. The Pentagon, scrambling to cover costs, can no longer defer maintenance and other vital needs, but its ability to repair and service battlefield equipment is stretched to the limit. The generals have had to shoot down as unrealistic the election-timed leaks from the administration about grand plans to shorten soldiers' 12-month tours.

Both John Kerry and President Bush have vowed to stay in Iraq until it is stabilized. If so, they'll have to come to grips with a staggering bill.


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Troops: Pentagon Extends Tours of Duty for About 6,500 U.S. Soldiers
By THOM SHANKER

Published: October 30, 2004
 http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/30/international/middleeast/30military.html

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 - The Pentagon has ordered about 6,500 soldiers in Iraq to extend their tours, the first step the military has taken to increase its combat power there in preparation for the January elections, senior Defense Department officials said Friday.

About 3,500 members of the Second Brigade of the First Cavalry Division will stay in Iraq two months longer than initially ordered, and about 3,000 soldiers assigned to headquarters and support units of the First Infantry Division will have their tours extended by two and a half weeks.

While Pentagon officials and military officers previously had left open the possibility that additional troops would be required to battle a tenacious insurgency ahead of the elections, they had also expressed hopes that new Iraqi security forces or foreign units might fill the need. The decision to extend the stay of American forces in Iraq at a time when replacement troops also are arriving means a significant increase in the overall American combat presence for the first time since the summer.

No other extensions have been approved, and no units now preparing for Iraq duty have been ordered to speed up their departure, according to Pentagon and military officials.

But senior Defense Department officials said they had considered plans that would allow the American military in Iraq to quickly increase its forces by as many as three brigades - a total of as many as 15,000 troops, the combat power of a traditional Army division - but that no steps had been taken other than the extensions discussed Friday.

If Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of American forces in the Middle East, requests even more troops, it is possible that the Third Infantry Division, which led the drive for Baghdad during the war and is set to return to Iraq in January, could speed the arrival of some combat units, officials said. Other options also are under consideration.

Under the extension orders, which have been approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the soldiers whose departures are delayed will still leave Iraq for their home bases before the 12-month deployment limit promised by the Army, as the units had initially been given assignments of less than a year.

The order will result in some good news for about 3,000 members of the 42nd Infantry Division of the New York National Guard, based in Troy. Those soldiers are to replace the headquarters units of the First Infantry Division whose stay in Iraq is being extended, and the departure for Iraq of those 42nd Infantry Division soldiers is to be delayed by up to 60 days, allowing many to spend the holiday season at home.

Their slowed departure is necessary because there will be no living space or equipment for those members of the 42nd Division until the First Infantry Division soldiers leave. While the additional time will allow for more training, two senior Defense Department officials said the delay was a matter of logistics and infrastructure, and not a reflection on readiness of those New York National Guard soldiers.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan has already prompted a 25 percent increase in daily attacks, according to Pentagon officials. But these officials said they had seen no indication yet of a major insurgent offensive like the one a year ago. But military commanders said they must prepare for a guerrilla offensive that could come in November or December, as voter registration gets under way in earnest, or for attacks timed to the elections in January.

Pentagon and military officials said commanders were already planning to take advantage of the overlap of arriving and departing soldiers around the time of the elections, as that offers a natural, if temporary, increase in troop strength in certain areas. The number of American troops in Iraq has averaged about 138,000 since the summer.

General Abizaid, said one senior Defense Department official, "wanted the most experienced forces available to us" as the election approached. Time already spent in Iraq has allowed those troops to gain combat experience and to develop important ties with Iraqi leaders and the local population that cannot be immediately replaced by arriving forces, the official said.

Military officers in Baghdad said Friday that soldiers of the Second Brigade of the First Cavalry Division had already been informed of the decision to delay their mid-November departure until mid-January. The First Cavalry Division is responsible for security in Baghdad, including the Sadr City district that is a center of Shiite unrest. Senior officials described the Second Brigade as "a very seasoned force" that would serve as an "operational reserve" and quick-reaction force during its two-month extension.

The headquarters units of the First Infantry Division now will depart on Feb. 14 instead of Jan. 27. The division is deployed north of Baghdad in restive Sunni Muslim cities, including Samarra, Balad and Baquba.

In the previous troop rotation this year, 250,000 American soldiers changed places in Iraq in the largest shift of troops since World War II. While successful, the quick pace of the rotation put a huge strain on the military's air and sea transportation system, on temporary deployment bases in Kuwait and on the Iraqi road system. Military officials decided to spread the new round of troop replacements over a longer period, with the bulk arriving and departing between this fall and spring 2005.

To make that new, longer rotation timetable work, some units were scheduled for only 10 months in Iraq, including those now scheduled for extension.

The Army has previously had to extend deployments for soldiers in Iraq, causing complaints from some soldiers and some of their families.

The first extension was for some troops of the Third Infantry Division after the end of major combat operations. The second was earlier this year, when the First Armored Division had its yearlong tour extended by 90 days. The division was sent south from Baghdad to put down the first uprising of a militia loyal to the rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr.
Corporate Media Articles on Indymedia 30.Oct.2004 15:46

Anonymous

Why does Indymedia permit regurgitated corporate media articles to crowd out legitimately independent posts? This is merely a simple way for Corporate America and their political front groups to take over and colonize supposedly "independent" media.

"legitimately independent posts?" 30.Oct.2004 15:54

tailor the news wire to your own preference

care to provide us please,

with some of those "legitimately independent" URL links as they appear on the current news wire?

also -

if you DO NOT WANT to view 're-posts' on the Portland Indymedia news wire,

you may simply make use of the Selector Buttons to your left - by topic, region, genre, etc.

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author:nyt 30.Oct.2004 16:38

Anonymous

Author:nyt says it all. A Democratic Party operative could easily have done the post, utilizing the corporate "Times" piece in an indirect attempt to influence the voting behavior of your viewers. Another recent multiple post was merely a link to right winger and disinformationist Drudge. One can easily imagine someone intentionally posting numerous submissions with the sole intention of directing people to corporate media sources. They could also easily crowd out more autonomous voices. After all, I'm posting under the name "Anonymous." Imagine what happens if lots of "Anonymous's" act systematically in unison, especially during election seasons or in whatever crisis you care to imagine.

. 30.Oct.2004 17:02

.

"Author:nyt says it all."

--yes: it's called ATTRIBUTION.

"A Democratic Party operative could easily have done the post, utilizing the corporate "Times" piece in an indirect attempt to influence the voting behavior of your viewers."

--HUH?!? at this point - if by "voting behavior" you are somehow attempting to refer to the sole choice, in possible outcome, between Kerry/Edwards and Bush/Cheney - it's already a done deal. Also - in case you never noticed - the Independent Media Centers world wide tend to deal with issues of a POLITICAL nature . . . so that EVERY potential article topic might, perhaps - especially in election season - be perceived as an " . . . indirect attempt to influence the voting behavior of your viewers . . . "

whatever, Mr. "Anonymous" 'conspiracy theorist' (as though some 'Democratic Party operative' ROTFLMAO is the greatest of our possible worries) . . .

"Another recent multiple post was merely a link to right winger and disinformationist Drudge. One can easily imagine someone intentionally posting numerous submissions with the sole intention of directing people to corporate media sources. They could also easily crowd out more autonomous voices."

--Drudge is not "corporate media" but an over-inflated-egotized right-wing-leaning totally unsubstantiated sensationalist blogger: that's all he'll ever be. and if Indymedia users and readers at large are not 'experienced' or judicious enough to select and cull out where the sources of posted information are coming from, should they perhaps entrust such editorializing to someone as reputable as you, Mr. "Anonymous"?

it's easy for any one to tailor the Portland Indymedia news wire for your own purposes, using the Selector Buttons, to your immediate left. choose "coverage", "announcements", "commentary", anything else you wish . . . ever heard of *interactive*? Portland IMC is by far the most efficient and user-friendly IMC on earth.

"After all, I'm posting under the name "Anonymous." Imagine what happens if lots of "Anonymous's" act systematically in unison, especially during election seasons or in whatever crisis you care to imagine."

--see above. so far, you've done nothing to enhance the deficit of illusory credibility you had to begin with.

Drudge 30.Oct.2004 18:44

Anonymous

"Attribution"--in this case, a distinction without a difference. The MAIN CONTENT of this post are "New York Times" articles, not independent points of view.

Anyone can give a one or two sentence gloss of another article and then reprint verbatim a complete corporate media article, but is that really an independent point of view? An original contribution? A creative act? Why not have everyone do the same: briefly gloss your favorite Washington Post, NY Times, Oregonian etc article of the day, and then post the entire article on your site?

Actually, Drudge does appear on corporate media, eg, Sean Hannity; their relationship seems to be cordial; is it too much to think that they don't share notes on tactics, rhetorical devices, etc etc? In other words, that he's part of at least one faction of the corporate capitalist machine? Also think he has a syndicated radio show, though obviously not as frequently as Hannity and his kind.

Oh, I'm sure I'm not quite "Anonymous" to you.

you 30.Oct.2004 19:29

me

"Attribution"--in this case, a distinction without a difference. The MAIN CONTENT of this post are "New York Times" articles, not independent points of view."

--"independent"???? **NO** point of view is "independent". btw, the 'MAIN CONTENT' of this article reposted here is about the monetary cost of the Iraq war - a pretty important topic, don't you think? and there are plenty of other sources - on all kinds of topics - besides New York Times that get reposted at Indymedia sites all over, every single day.

"Anyone can give a one or two sentence gloss of another article and then reprint verbatim a complete corporate media article, but is that really an independent point of view? An original contribution? A creative act? Why not have everyone do the same: briefly gloss your favorite Washington Post, NY Times, Oregonian etc article of the day, and then post the entire article on your site?"

--first of all, this isn't "my favorite article" or news source, and it's not meant to be (there you go again . . .) "independent" (????) - but the TOPIC of the article(s) above happens to relate to 'imperialism and war', one which is of great concern to Indymedia readers and users.

Additionally, one of the reasons to repost mainstream news sources on Indymedia is for DISCUSSION and DISSECTION of the Corporate Media view point on issues, and presentation of issues.

this can be done by excerpting the article within the original post itself, or simply by readers and users of the Indymedia newswire to POST THEIR OWN COMMENTS ON THE CONTENT of the re-posted material, adding their own insights as to the veracity, reliability, or relevance (in this case Mr. "Anonymous" has decided that The New York Times and indeed all corporate media is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT ANATHEMA to Indymedia, whatsoever) of the source data presented.

as to "my own site" - I don't have one. Do YOU, Mr. "Anonymous"? if you do, I can assure you I'll be the first to pay a visit - NOT.

and as to "glossing" "favorite articles" from various mainstream news sources, both within and outside the United States - there are plenty of left-leaning (and right-leaning) sites which do that:  http://www.whatreallyhappened.com ,  http://www.makethimeaccountable.com ,  http://www.truthout.org ,  http://www.commondreams.org

but in fact, Mr. "Anonymous" - a few of the same articles that these people at the above "glossing" web sites have chosen to feature, may in fact ALSO be of interest (yes, sometimes IN THEIR ENTIRETY as well) to Portland Indymedia readers -

who may, in fact, Mr. "Anonymous" WANT TO MAKE SOME COMMENTS about the way in which these specific articles portray particular issues, to dissect or otherwise criticize the corporate [if any] point of view.

on the automatic definition of "corporate" - there are many minor-circulation journalists and columnists who - although their regular work may be syndicated via a corporate-sponsored publisher or source - may not necessarily reflect a "corporate" point of view at all, in fact quite the opposite. One example of this might be someone like Naomi Klein, who is published widely via 'corporate' syndication. anyway, there are shades of gray in automatically painting the publishing source as a culprit, without closely examining the AUTHOR or written CONTENT.

plus, plain and simply - many Portland Indymedia readers do not necessarily have the timem inclination or refined breeding of such an esteemed fellow as Mr. "Anonymous" to visit other web sites too frequently, and would in fact appreciate the efforts of some to re-post and make visible to Portland Indymedia users these articles for use, comment, and criticism.

also - I personally find it particularly helpful for certain mainstream news containing information I would not otherwise see to be re-posted here, so that I'm not required to log on to a Corporate Internet Page such as the New York Times (which requires a subscription for articles such as the above to be viewed - though this can be bypassed using Google's cache at times ;-) . . .

"Actually, Drudge does appear on corporate media, eg, Sean Hannity; their relationship seems to be cordial; is it too much to think that they don't share notes on tactics, rhetorical devices, etc etc? In other words, that he's part of at least one faction of the corporate capitalist machine? Also think he has a syndicated radio show, though obviously not as frequently as Hannity and his kind."

--personally, I don't give a flying fuck about the "information" presented by either of the two Fundamentalist-Funded ReichWingNut clowns you mention (and it does annoy me somewhat when Portland Indymedia users re-post some article or comment about "Rush said This" or "Hannity said That" or "Lars Larson said The Other Thing", because quite frankly people who even pay attention to such utterly abhorrent driveling garbage are not worth bothering with. It's mainly because the above-mentioned sewage-slinging circus performers never, EVER deal in such basics as substantiated facts or references - just pure invective, hearsay and hyperbole).

Indymedia shouldn't be about any sort of Talk Radio, anyway - "left" or "right". Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, however - that's something quite different. Between The Lines also.

as to the "corporate capitalist machine" - there's an explanation above about what to do with corporate media when it rears its ugly head on IMC . . . have you ever heard the phrase:

know your enemy

?

"Oh, I'm sure I'm not quite "Anonymous" to you."

--hm, not sure at all what you're on about there . . . but anyway, I just enjoy deconstructing your screeds into smithereens, so keep it up.