American and Iraqi troops searched a school in Awsat, south of Baghdad, for members of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia
Billions for Guns, Vetoes for Butter;
That's why a report on the staggering costs of our Iraq intervention, issued this week by the Democratic staff of Congress's Joint Economic Committee, is useful. The report noted that Bush has requested a total of $607 billion for the war and that its actual cost to our economy is $1.3 trillion.
Republican critics of the JEC report, " War at Any Price?," argued that some of its numbers are tendentious. Yes, this study has its moments of tendentiousness. But that doesn't undercut the importance of its questions. Consider only this number: Interest costs on Iraq-related debt will be more than $23 billion for fiscal 2008. That sum is almost exactly the amount separating Bush and Congress on spending levels for the entire budget now being debated.
Why are the costs of the Iraq war not considered part of our larger budget debate? On Tuesday, Bush vetoed Congress's $606 billion labor, health and education bill because of a $10 billion difference on spending for domestic concerns. But he is asking for a supplemental appropriation of $196 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- an increase of $46 billion over what he sought in October.
So it comes down to this: Bush can bust the budget for Iraq, but God forbid that we spend a little more on education.