Friday, December 08, 2006

The Iraq Study Group: TPV analysis, Part II

Yesterday, I explained why the ISG Report's recommendations on Iran, even if implemented (which they won't be, given President Bush's disdain), were unlikely to affect the sectarian violence in Iraq, and in fact would likely make things worse. Today, I want to note, briefly, the ISG's conclusions on the Iraq War budget.

It is somewhat amazing to think that most Americans, myself included (until recently), have no idea what this war costs ($8 billion a month, incidentally). That's in part due to President Bush's misguided notion that taxes should be cut, rather than raised, during a time of war. But it's also because the government itself doesn't know how much the war costs. Here, in the ISG Report's own words:

"The public interest is not well served by the government's preparation, presentation and review of the budget for the war in Iraq."

"First, most of the costs of the war show up not in the normal budget request but in requests for emergency supplemental appropriations . . . . Bypassing the normal review process erodes budget discipline and accountability."

[You can bet Bush will ignore this proposal, given the new Democratic Congressional leadership. Will the Dems fight back? Don't bet on it.]

"Second, the executive branck presents budget requests in a confusing manner, making it difficult for both the general public and members of Congress to understand the request or to differentiate it from counterterrorism operations around the world or Afghanistan."

[The reasons for this are obvious: Bush continues to conflate the Iraq War with "counterterrorism." The entire U.S. military apparatus is viewed as a counterrorist measure. Again, don't expect this to change -- Bush is fundamentally incapable of segregating the two conflicts, as is Cheney.]

"Finally, circumvention of the budget process by the executive branch erodes oversight and review by Congress."

[Remember, the ISQ prepared its finding when the GOP was still in charge. Bush was thus evading oversight by his own party. Once again, don't expect anything to change.]


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