News Release

Congress on Iraq and War: Lax and Spend?

WILLIAM D. HARTUNG
In the June 20 article “Tanker Inquiry Finds Rumsfeld’s Attention Was Elsewhere,” the Washington Post reported: “A series of reports … indicate that five years into the Bush administration, the department’s system of buying new weapons is broken and dysfunctional… ‘DOD is simply not positioned to deliver high-quality products in a timely and cost-effective fashion,’ the comptroller general of the United States, David M. Walker, said in a little-noticed April 5 critique. The Pentagon, he said, has ‘a longstanding track record of over-promising and un-delivering with virtual impunity.'”
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Director of the Arms Trade Resource Center, senior fellow at the World Policy Institute and author of the book How Much Are You Making on the War, Daddy? A Quick and Dirty Guide to War Profiteering in the Bush Administration, Hartung said today: “Under Donald Rumsfeld’s tenure, weapons costs have skyrocketed, and one Pentagon official has been convicted for favoring Boeing in a major weapons deal. Rumsfeld claims he can’t recall if he approved the actions that have led to this state of affairs. For his failure to hold weapons contractors accountable as military spending tops $500 billion per year, Rumsfeld should resign.”
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JOSEPH GERSON
Editor of The Sun Never Sets, a book about U.S. military bases worldwide, Gerson said today: “The House vote against creating permanent military bases in Iraq is encouraging, but we shouldn’t be fooled. It attempts to remove an irritant in U.S.-Iraqi and U.S.-Arab and Muslim relations, but the cement continues to be poured. The long-term infrastructure of U.S. bases in Iraq continues to be built, and the military continues to plan for as many as 50,000 U.S. troops remaining in Iraq for the long term. A goal of the Bush-Cheney war has always been to transform Iraq into an unsinkable aircraft carrier for U.S. domination of the oil-rich Middle East, and Congress has yet to do anything that legally and fundamentally alters this course. The goal of dominating the Middle East militarily has led to incalculable disasters, and it is only going to get worse.”
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KATHY KELLY
Kelly just returned from Amman, Jordan, where she spent two months meeting with many Iraqis displaced by war and occupation. She is currently on a 30-day “Walk For Justice: From the Midwest to the Mideast.” A founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Kelly is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Kelly said today: “We’d like to see Democratic Senators Durbin and Obama, here in Illinois, sign on to the Kerry-Feingold proposal. All along the roads, as we walk through Illinois, holding signs that say ‘End Iraq War,’ we see and hear overwhelmingly positive responses. I think Kerry rightly observes that people in this country don’t have the stomach to continue this war, though we’re a long way from making the Washington establishment see the necessity of us paying reparations for the suffering we’ve inflicted on Iraqis. Having prominent politicians finally adopt the idea of a firm deadline is progress.”

On Thursday, June 15, Kelly and four companions were arrested in Sen. Durbin’s office after commemorated U.S. military persons and Iraqi civilians who’ve been killed in Iraq since the Shock and Awe campaign began.
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CINDY WILLIAMS
Principal research scientist at the Security Studies Program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Williams is editor of the book Holding the Line: U.S. Defense Alternatives for the Early 21st Century. She said today: “In terms of the military appropriations already passed by Congress, with $98 billion for the Iraq war this year, the $2 billion inserted into the supplemental appropriation for border patrol activities is relatively minor. Military spending in Iraq is $2 billion per week — that’s what we spend in an entire year for vaccines and medicines to use in the event of a terrorist attack using biological or chemical weapons. And aside from spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s annual budget tops $400 billion.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167