News Release

· Israeli Raid · Iraq War Costs

NASEER ARURI
Aruri is chancellor professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and author of the book Dishonest Broker: The U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine. He said today: “The storming of the Jericho prison and kidnapping of Ahmed Saadat and his four colleagues by Israeli troops only 15 minutes after the withdrawal of U.S. and U.K. guards demonstrates Anglo-American collusion in this illegal action. It also compounds the illegal treatment of these political prisoners held in the Jericho prison under an extra-legal agreement imposed on the weak PA by Israel, the U.K. and the United States. Not only was Saadat and his colleagues denied due process when they were committed to the Jericho prison in 2002, under U.S. and U.K. supervision, but they were also kept in prison despite a verdict by the highest judicial authority of the Palestine Authority. … Moreover, the timing of this assault to coincide with the Israeli election campaign is designed to promote the goals of Olmert and his Kadima Party in their pursuit of right-wing votes.”

MICHELE NAAR-OBED
Naar-Obed is a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams who has just returned from a two-month stay in Iraq. She was a friend and colleague of Tom Fox, who was recently found dead in Iraq. Three other members of the group are currently being held hostage by an organization calling itself Swords of Righteousness. The CPT also has four other people currently doing the work of the group in Iraq.

President Bush is making a series of speeches arguing that the Iraq war is going relatively well. Naar-Obed said today: “Virtually the only thing that’s going well in Iraq is happening in spite of the U.S. presence, and that’s Iraqi human rights groups and religious leaders trying to prevent the rifts and build a decent society; we’re working with them, we’re the last non-governmental organization there I think. … There’s still only about four hours of electricity per day in Iraq, no clean water, disease is rampant in parts of Baghdad. And now death squads are operating inside the country.” Excerpts from Tom Fox’s diary are available.
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FRIDA BERRIGAN
Senior research associate for the Arms Trade Resource Center, Berrigan said today: “The House is expected to vote shortly on an ’emergency supplemental’ for the Pentagon that is neither. The Bush administration is now calling the ‘war on terrorism’ the ‘Long War.’ And it should no longer be allowed to hide the costs of that war in emergency supplemental appropriations.

“The $68 billion requested by the Pentagon as part of the $74.5 billion package for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will mostly go to cover the predictable expenses of fighting two intractable wars — things like body armor and other protective gear, tanks and attack helicopters. These expenditure make sense if the United States is fighting the Long War, but why are they not added to the Pentagon’s $439.3 billion budget request for 2007?

“By paying for the Long War with a series of supplementals, the Pentagon and Bush administration maintain the fiction that the war is happening on the (relative) cheap, and hide the long-term costs in future supplementals. And, they undercut Congressional and public debate about the war and its costs by fomenting a false sense of urgency about what ‘our troops’ need ‘on the ground.’

“The Democrats in the House Budget Office estimate that once the $68 billion in supplemental funding is approved, the United States will have spent more than $445 billion on military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. And to repeat: that is on top of the Pentagon’s ever-growing budget.

“It is time for an honest appraisal of the war and its costs. What was that deficit again? $423 billion for 2006. Sounds more familiar doesn’t it? It is more or less equal to the Pentagon’s request for 2007 and the total supplemental funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167