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U.S. spending on Iraq may soon surpass Korean War budget

CBC News | June 20, 2005

Lawmakers in the United States were scheduled to vote on Monday to approve $45 billion US in additional funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, making the recent Middle East foray more expensive than the entire Korean War.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress has approved $350 billion, mostly for combat and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The amount, which includes $82 billion approved last month, is equal to the total amount in today's dollars spent on the Korean conflict from 1950-53.

More than 54,000 U.S. troops were killed and 103,000 wounded in that conflict when the U.S.-led United Nations force pushed back a North Korean invasion into South Korea.

Monday's bill before the House of Representatives would give the Pentagon a total of $364 billion, about a three per cent increase, for its operations for the 2006 budget year that begins Oct. 1.

The proposed budget includes a 3.1 per cent wage increase for soldiers in order to induce more recruits.

The latest tap on the war chest comes when support for the war continues to dip: 60 per cent favour at least a partial pullout of U.S. forces, according to a Gallup poll.

An Associated Press-Ipsos Reid poll put support for President George W. Bush's handling of the war at 41 per cent, a new low.

The war in Iraq has killed 1,720 U.S. troops and wounded more than 12,000.

Bush told a White House news conference on Monday that young Americans in Iraq weighed heavily on his mind.

"I think about Iraq every day. Every single day, because I understand we have kids in harm's way," he said.

To those who have lost family members overseas he said: "One, we're not going to leave them – not going to allow their mission to go in vain. And two, we will complete the mission, and the world will be better off for it."

For the first time last week, several lawmakers from Republican and Democrat parties presented a resolution to the House that would require Bush by year's end to announce a withdrawal plan. It would have to start by Oct. 1, 2006.

Bush aides have dismissed a timetable, saying Iraqi troops need strengthening first and that any announcement would encourage rebels to wait until the coalition leaves.



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