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13 May, 2009 10:08

US looking to boost military funding for ‘right war’

The US Congress is expected to pass an emergency bill on funding for the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Obama administration and Department of Defense are asking for around $95 billion of extra cash to beef up their overseas military operations, as well as humanitarian purposes.

Some of the requested funds will go towards aid purposes. For example, $1 billion is going to be spent to help countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq fight terrorism. About $2 billion will go towards stopping the global spread of swine flu.

If these figures are compared to a bigger picture, more than 19% of the bill is going towards military force, which goes against previous Obama rhetoric, as the new administration is heard constantly and insists that the US military policy in Afghanistan and Central Asia itself needs change and that this war cannot be won by military force alone.

This 19% of the bill will be spent on new machinery and new military equipment which raises the question over whether the American administration is really preparing to change anything.

In addition, despite Barack Obama promising at the beginning of his term that he will close the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention center, the appears that the American lawmakers are putting their foot on this money – all because Obama still has not presented a solid plan as to where the prisoners are going to go. Even the Democrats, who are expected to support Obama and give him this money insist that there is no way Obama’s administration could get this money before it explains what it plans to do with Gitmo inmates.

The Republicans are even trying to push for the provision to be written into the bill saying none of these former detainees are going to be put on American soil. If Obama really wants to come through with his closure promises, he will have to give Congress a clear outline.

It is tough times for the US at home now, so the demand for more military funding raises lots of questions. Many people are upset because, during his campaign, Obama presented himself as a peace president. Even though he condemned the Bush administration for getting the US involved in two wars, there has been no change under Obama, other than shifting the military spree’s focus from Iraq to Afghanistan and saying that this is ‘the right war’.

The timing of the bill is strongly tied with yesterday’s replacement of America’s top military commander in Afghanistan. When Gen. David McKiernan was fired it was said he was not able to change the strategy enough because he was too much of a ‘classical officer’ for them. Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal is now supposed to use the new ‘non-traditional’ types of warfare and a lot is expected from him. It is likely, then, that the new, ‘non-traditional’ warfare tactics of McChrystal need such huge funding.