Nearly five years of the Bush Administration’s flawed Iraq strategy has imposed tremendous costs on our country. The lives of the thousands of courageous troops who have been killed is the most tragic cost, along with the more than 28,000 service members who have been injured, many of whom returned home with permanent, debilitating conditions. But the war has cost us in many other ways as well, including direct and indirect economic costs, our failure to invest in domestic priorities, the strain on our military forces which has reduced our ability to respond to other threats both abroad and at home, and the cost of taking our eye off the ball and failing to confront the terrorist threat posed by Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It is clear that staying the course with the Bush Administration’s failed policy in Iraq has been very costly, for our military, for the American people, for the Iraqi people, and for U.S. national security interests. All of these costs illustrate the urgent need to change course in Iraq, refocus the mission and start bringing our troops home.
The Iraq War Has Imposed Tremendous Fiscal and Economic Costs
The United States is spending more than $10 billion per month in Iraq. In the more than four years since the President declared “mission accomplished” and announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq, the costs of the war have escalated dramatically. This year, the United States has spent an average of $10.3 billion each month in Iraq, up considerably from the $8.6 billion we were spending monthly last year, and more than double the burn rate of $4.4 million per month in the first year of the war. (CRS, 12/12/07)
The U.S. has already spent $450 billion on the war. An estimated $448 billion has been provided to support Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) through Fiscal Year 2007. According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) analysis of war-related appropriations to date (including funds for operations in Afghanistan) approximately 93 percent of the funds were allocated to the Department of Defense; six percent for foreign aid programs and operations; and less than one percent for medical care for veterans. (CRS, 12/12/07)
There appears to be no end in sight to the war’s economic burden:
· The Bush Administration has requested an estimated $158 billion in additional supplemental funding for 2008. In October, President Bush submitted a request for an additional $196 billion in emergency spending to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through Fiscal Year 2008. According to a CRS estimate, Iraq would receive approximately $158 billion while $37 billion would be provided for operations in Afghanistan. These additional funds would bring the cumulative cost of the war in Iraq above $600 billion, which is more than the Korean War and nearly as much as the Vietnam War. (CRS, 11/9/07; Los Angeles Times, 9/22/07)
· When including both the direct and indirect economic costs of the war, the price tag for the war is estimated to rise to $1.3 trillion through 2008. A report by the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) found that the total economic costs of the war in Iraq will exceed $1.3 trillion by 2008. In addition to the $600 billion of appropriated and requested funds for the war, the report included the cost of funding the war with borrowed money, the cost of disruption in the world oil market, the costs of refitting and enlarging the military, the cost of caring for our injured veterans, and the cost in lost productivity of those wounded and disabled by the war. In real world terms, the JEC reported that the total economic cost of the war for a family of four will be $16,500. (JEC Report, “War at Any Price?,” 11/07)
· The cost of a long-term U.S. troop presence – as advocated by the Bush Administration – is estimated at $2.8 trillion. The Joint Economic Committee’s report determined that a long-term presence of U.S. troops in Iraq would cause the overall cost of the war to increase to $2.8 trillion by 2017, assuming the U.S. reduced its troop strength to 55,000 by 2013. Under this Korea-like scenario, total costs of the Iraq War to a family of four could reach $36,900 by 2017. (JEC Report, “War at Any Price?,” 11/07)
Repeated and Extended Deployments Have Caused A Military Readiness Crisis, Led To Recruiting And Retention Challenges And Left Our Country Without A Strategic Reserve
The Army is being stretched to its limit: all available active-duty and reserve combat units are now deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. The Center for a New American Security recently reported that “The only Army brigade combat teams that are considered ready are those already deployed or about to deploy.” (Center for a New American Security, November 2007)
· General Casey testified that our Armed Forces are out of balance, that the current demand for forces exceeds supply. “As the chairman said, our nation has been at war for our six years. Our Army has been a leader on the front lines of this war and back here at home, and over time these operations have expanded in scope and duration. And as a result our all-volunteer force has been stretched and stressed… So, Mr. Chairman, as we look to that future, we do so with an Army that’s already stretched by the impacts of six years of war. And while we remain a resilient, committed, professional force, today’s Army, as Congressman Hunter said, is out of balance. The current demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply. We are consumed with meeting the demands of the current fight and unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as necessary for other contingencies. Our reserve components are performing an operational role for which they were neither originally designed, nor resourced. (House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 9/27/07)
· General Colin Powell agreed with General Shoomaker that the Army is broken. “I’m suggesting that what General Schoomaker said the other day, before a committee looking at the Reserve and National Guard that the active Army is about broken. General Schoomaker is absolutely right, and all of my contacts within the Army suggest that the Army has a serious problem in the active force, and it’s a problem that will spread into the Guard and Reserves: Backlog of equipment that is not being repaired, soldiers – especially officers and noncommissioned officers – going on repetitive tours.” (CBS News, Face the Nation, 12/17/06)
The Army’s ready brigade is not available to respond. “For the first time in decades, the Army’s ‘ready brigade’ – a unit of the famed 82nd Airborne Division primed to parachute into a hot spot anywhere in the world within 72 hours – is a luxury the U.S. Army cannot afford. All its forces are already dedicated to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” (Time, 4/9/07)
Non-deployed troops face a shortage of equipment necessary for training. In February, General Peter Pace testified that “about 40 percent of our equipment is either currently in combat zone or being repaired,” leaving units at home with “less than a full complement of equipment, and it means that in some cases, where we have our best vehicles, like the manufactured up-armored Humvees that are all forward-deployed, that the troops who are training to go, train in normal Humvees instead of up-armored Humvees.” (General Pace, Testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, 2/7/07)
Military leaders have been forced to compress training time to meet the pace of deployment. Army officers have told reporters that the current tempo of operations has forced them to abandon specialized courses and practice exercises on firing ranges for shortened classes and training on weapons simulators. They also report that equipment shortages at home have left many troops unable to train on the same equipment that they are using in Iraq. As a result, some fear that troops are being sent into battle unfamiliar with critical equipment and that their performance on the field will be compromised. (New York Times, 3/20/07)
The strain of extended and repeated deployments has led to significant recruiting and retention challenges for our Armed Forces:
· Army desertion rates are up 80 percent since 2003. According to Army data, the number of soldiers deserting their posts has steadily increased since the start of the Iraq war, including a 42 percent rise since last year. (Associated Press, 11/16/07)
· The Army faces a shortage of officers. The Army has reported a shortage of 3,000 captains and majors this year, and projects that this shortfall will continue for every year through 2013. According to army officials, extended and repeated war-zone tours are the top reason these officers leave service. (Washington Post, 10/11/07)
· ·West Point graduates are exiting the service at record rates. Forty-six percent of the West Point Class of 2001 and 54 percent of the class of 2002 have left the Army following their five-year service obligation – the lowest rate of retention for such graduates in three decades. (Center for a New American Security, 11/07)
In order to keep pace with operational demands, military leaders have been forced to lower standards, increase bonuses, and rely on stop-loss policies to recruit and retain soldiers:
- The Army has increased the number of moral waivers granted to new recruits. According to Pentagon records, the Army issued 12,057 “moral character waivers” for new recruits in Fiscal Year 2007, nearly three times the number granted in 2003 (4,644) and an increase of 44.7 percent compared with 8,330 in 2006. (Houston Chronicle, 10/14/07)
- The Army loosened age standards, raising the maximum enlistment age for new recruits from 35 to 42. “For the second time in six months, the Army is raising the maximum enlistment age for new recruits, this time from 40 to 42, recruiting officials announced Wednesday.” (Stars and Stripes, 6/23/06)
- The Army has lowered education standards, allowing in more recruits without high school diplomas. In Fiscal Year 2007, only 79 percent of recruits had high school diplomas, compared to 94 percent in 2003. This falls significantly below DOD’s standard, which specifies that at least 90 percent of new recruits have a high school diploma. (Center for American Progress, 10/12/07)
- The Army has dramatically increased and expanded bonuses to recruit and retain soldiers. The Army will pay more than $1 billion in bonuses in 2007, more than three times the amount it spent in 2003 to meet recruiting and retention goals. Army captains who agree to reenlist will be offered up to $35,000 and new soldiers who agree to enlist for two to six years will be offered $20,000-$40,000. (Center for American Progress, 10/12/07; Washington Post, 10/11/07)
- Secretary Geren testified that stop-loss remains a “necessary process right now.” “We look at the stop loss as a necessary process right now to meet our deployment schedules. Secretary Gates – and I agree with him, says stop loss is something that we need to work our way out of. And I have tasked the Army to come up with a plan to work us out of stop loss, to come with alternatives, come up with incentives.” (Testimony before the Senate Armed Service Committee, 6/19/07)
- The Pentagon has increasingly turned to private contractors to fulfill mission requirements in Iraq. The Department of Defense has turned to contractors to meet operation demands in Iraq. According to media reports from September, DOD has had to increasingly rely on contractors to take over logistics responsibilities for many military units, as U.S. support personnel continue to be tapped to provide force protection and perform combat operations in support of the Administration’s ongoing military escalation plan. According to a DOD statement reported in the Washington Post, all of the small logistics bases “currently using about 50% of their assigned (currently less than 100% strength) military personnel for other required duties (force protection, patrols, escort duties, etc. along with performing 24 hour combat operations).” (Washington Post, 9/17/07)
Military Leaders Have Spoken Out: The War in Iraq Is Making Us Less Safe and Undermining America’s National Security Interests
General Colin Powell said that the Iraq war has made us less safe. “Well, I think we are a little less safe in the sense that we don’t have the same force structure available for other problems. I think we have been somewhat constrained in our ability to influence events elsewhere. But I think that’s all recoverable.” (CBS News, Face the Nation, 12/17/06)
General Petraeus testified that he did not know if continuing the mission in Iraq was making America safer.
Senator Warner: Are you able to say at this time if we continue what you have laid before the Congress here, this strategy. Do you feel that that is making America safer?
General Petraeus: Sir, I believe this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq.
Senator Warner: Does that make America safer?
General Petraeus: Sir I don’t know actually. I have not sat down and sorted in my own mind. What I have focused on and what I have been riveted on is how to accomplish the mission of the multinational force Iraq. (Testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker to the Senate Armed Services Committee, 9/11/07)
General Barry McCaffrey testified that the pace of military operations over the past several years has broken our Army and Marines. “Your Army, somewhat the Marine Corps, are broken. Our equipment is broken. Hundreds of our armored vehicles are lined up at depots. It has been grossly under-resourced. We are in a position of strategic peril. In my judgment, our manpower is inadequate. I’ve been saying 80,000 troops short in the Army, 25,000 in the Marine Corps. Our recruiting is faltering. There is unquestionably, on the bottom end, a decrease in the quality of the kids coming into the United States Army now. We’re encountering all sorts of problems we didn’t see some years ago. You must fix the Army and the Marine Corps or we will be incapable of responding to the next crisis.” (Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, 1/18/07)
General Joseph Hoar testified that the war in Iraq has undercut our interests in the Middle East. “The war was never in our interest; that it actually was undercutting our interests in the region – regional stability – because by going in and knocking off Saddam, we ensured that this kind of conflict would eventually come about. And what we’ve been trying to do ever since is evade the inevitable.” (Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, 1/18/07)
Military Leaders Have Spoken Out: The War in Iraq Is Placing America at Strategic Risk And Undermining Critical National Security Interests
Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez stated that the continuing strain on U.S. forces is imposing an “unacceptable strategic risk.” “But America must know the pressures that are being placed on our military institutions as we fight this war. All Americans must demand that these deploying formations are properly resourced, properly trained and we must never allow America’s support for the soldier to falter. A critical, objective assessment of our nation’s ability to execute our national security strategy must be conducted. If we are objective and honest, the results will be surprising to all Americans. There is unacceptable strategic risk.” (Military Reporters and Editors Address, 10/12/07)
Admiral Fallon and Admiral Mullen reported concerns about having enough forces to confront threats outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. “Admiral Fallon was said by some officers to believe that only by giving the Iraqi government a clearer sense that the American troop commitment was limited would the Iraqis take steps aimed at achieving reconciliation. He also worries about having enough forces in reserve to handle contingencies outside Iraq and in Afghanistan. Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the current chief of naval operations, who takes over as chairman of the Joint Chiefs next month, has also raised concerns about force levels, though he also cautions against a withdrawal before the current strategy is allowed to work.” (New York Times, 9/14/07)
General Casey has raised fears about the readiness of U.S. forces for missions outside of Iraq. “‘The demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply,’ the Army chief of staff, Gen. George Casey, said last week. ‘Right now we have in place deployment and mobilization policies that allow us to meet the current demands. If the demands don’t go down over time, it will become increasingly difficult for us to provide the trained and ready forces’ for other missions.” (Associated Press, 8/20/07)
General Barry McCaffrey warned that we are unable to respond to other threats. “This is the first time since World War II that we are strategically, as a ground combat force, in such as vulnerable position. If the other shoe drops, Castro dies, a half million Cuban refuges, miscalculation on the Korean Peninsula, a whole series of potential vulnerabilities, a major strike on the homeland, with millions of refugees in flight, we have left the U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. National Guard, the central load-bearing institution of domestic security ill-equipped to move forward. So we’ve got to drawdown the force.” (House Armed Services Committee, 7/31/07)
Equipment Shortages and Repeated and Extended Deployments to Iraq Have Limited the National Guard’s Ability to Respond to Threats at Home
General Blum warned that the National Guard’s ability to respond to natural disasters and terrorist attacks at home has been put at risk by being under-equipped. “We are now in a degraded state back here at home… The ability for the National Guard to respond to natural disasters and to perhaps terrorist weapons-of-mass-destruction events that may come to our homeland is at risk because we are significantly under-equipped.” (Detroit News, 3/31/07)
Further, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, General Blum warned that the equipment drain on the National Guard has made America more vulnerable to global threats. He stated that, “The problem is that our adversaries overseas know that we’re underequipped, and they may miscalculate on our ability to do anything. If we were properly equipped back here at home, not only would you have the force that the governors need to respond here at home, but we would have a strategic reserve that was a credible deterrent force while we are still an operational force overseas.” (General Blum, Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, 4/24/07)
· Eighty-Eight Percent of non-deployed Army National Guard Units are rated as not ready. In testimony before the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, General Blum stated that “88 percent of the forces that are back here in the United States are very poorly equipped today in the Army National Guard. And in the Air National Guard, for the last three decades, they have never had a unit below C2 in equipment readiness.” Further, he testified, “Those units are needed here at home, and they’re leveraged every day.” (General Steven Blum, Testimony before the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, 1/31/07; Commission on the Nation Guard and Reserves, 3/07)
· On average, non-deployed Army National Guard units have only half of the equipment they need to respond to crises at home. In May, General Blum stated that,”Nationwide, I can tell you that the National Guard prior to September 11th, 2001, had approximately 75 percent of the equipment that it was required to have against a validated requirement that was set by the Army and the Air Force to perform our federal combat missions abroad. At the beginning of this year, that number was down to as low as 40 percent. It today stands at 53 percent, if you’re talking about homeland defense/homeland security-essential equipment. If you’re talking about the full spectrum of equipment that we require, it’s only 49 percent. So roughly half of what we need is in our hands here at home.” (General Blum, Testimony before the House Homeland Subcommittee on Management, 5/24/07)
· General Arnold Punaro, Chairman of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, said readiness levels are “unacceptable.” In testimony in March, General Punaro stated that, “Nobody’s paying attention to the fact that we’re unready to deal with missions here at home.” While deploying troops have mobilization time to train and to bring in needed personnel and equipment, the general highlighted that, “That’s not the case here at home. Homeland scenarios, it’s come as you are. It’s be ready here now. And the fact that we have the first three Guard brigades that went to Iraq and have been back since 2005 – two years later, they’re still C4 for equipment…the get-well figure for combat for the Guard is 2015. The get-well for their combat support is 2020. I don’t think that’s acceptable in – with the kind of threats we deal with here at home.” (General Punaro, Testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, 3/23/07)
The War In Iraq Is Fueling Radicalism, Empowering Al Qaeda and The Global Terrorist Threat
The Iraq war created new terrorists. According to the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iraq has become a “cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.” (National Intelligence Estimate, April 2006)
Fighting in Iraq has made America more vulnerable to global terrorist threats: the war is serving as a powerful recruiting tool for al Qaeda, providing the group with access to new resources, operatives and supporters. According to the July 2007 NIE, continued U.S. operations in Iraq are actually making us less safe by “help[ing] al Qaeda energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks.” (National Intelligence Estimate, July 2007)
The growing displacement of Iraqis both inside the country and to neighboring states, poses an increasing threat to regional security. The August 2007 NIE reports that “[p]opulation displacement resulting from sectarian violence continues, imposing burdens on provincial governments and some neighboring states and increasing the danger of destabilizing influences spreading across Iraq’s borders over the next six to 12 months.” (National Intelligence Estimate, 8/23/07)
The Iraq war has been a diversion:the Intelligence Community assessed that Iraq is not the front line in the fight against terrorism. According to the July 2007 NIE, al Qaeda has reconstituted its capacity and is directing operations from its safe haven in Pakistan. Testifying on the implications of the NIE on al Qaeda, Edward Gistaro, National Intelligence Officer at the CIA, stated that the intelligence community is primarily concerned about al Qaeda operating out of Pakistan – not Iraq:
Representative Andrews: Are they more capable or less capable of attacking us from the FATA [the Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas] relative to Iraq?
Mr. Gistaro: Sir, I think the estimate speaks pretty clearly that we are primarily concerned with Al Qaida in South Asia.
Representative Andrews: So they’re more capable in the FATA areas than they are in Iraq, right?
Mr. Gistaro: Yes, sir.
(Edward Gistaro, Testimony before the House Armed Services and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, 7/12/07)
While U.S. Armed Forces Are Bogged Down in Iraq, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, and Terrorism Continue to Threaten America’s National Security
Global terrorist incidents have increased dramatically since the start of the Iraq war. After reaching a 20-year high in 2003, the number of worldwide terrorist attacks has grown dramatically in recent years, increasing more than threefold since 2004. The increases have been particularly dramatic in Iraq and Afghanistan where terrorist incidents rose 91 percent and 52 percent respectively, over the past year. (State Department Country Reports on Terrorism, 4/30/07)
The Intelligence Community assessed that al Qaeda has secured safe haven in Pakistan and has rebuilt its capacity. The July 2007 NIE shows that nearly six years after 9/11 and the President’s declaration of war against terrorism, the Bush Administration has failed to eliminate al Qaeda’s threat to the homeland and also has failed in its fundamental mission to prevent al Qaeda from gaining a safe haven. According to John Kringen, Deputy Director for Intelligence at the CIA, “We actually see the Al Qaida central being resurgent in their role in planning operations. They seem to be fairly well settled into the safe haven and the ungoverned spaces of Pakistan there. We see more training. We see more money. We see more communications. So we see that activity rising.” (John Kringen, Testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, 7/11/07)
Our Intelligence Community has assessed that al Qaeda has regrouped and regenerated key elements of its homeland attack capability. “Al-Qa’ida is and will remain the most serious terrorist threat to the Homeland, as its central leadership continues to plan high-impact plots, while pushing others in extremist Sunni communities to mimic its efforts and to supplement its capabilities. We assess the group has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability, including: a safehaven in the Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), operational lieutenants, and its top leadership… As a result, we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment.” (National Intelligence Estimate, 7/17/07)
Osama Bin Laden is still at-large after 2284 days on the run since September 11, 2001. The Bush Administration has failed to capture or kill the key architects of the 9/11 attacks. Osama bin Laden, the head of al Qaeda, and his deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri, continue to lead and inspire thousands of extremists around the world. (as of 12/13/07)
The U.N. Reports that Afghanistan is experiencing the most violent year since 2001. According to an internal U.N. report, Afghanistan is currently suffering its most violent year since the 2001 U.S.-led intervention. The report states that, “The security situation in Afghanistan is assessed by most analysts as having deteriorated at a constant rate through 2007.” It cites an average of 525 security incidents each month this year, including attacks by the Taliban, bombings, and other terrorist acts, which is up considerably from an average of 425 incidents per month in 2006.” (McClatchy, 10/1/07)
Reporting to the U.N Security Council in October, special representative for Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, stated that the number of violent incidents in Afghanistan was up 30 percent from last year. He told the Council that “The sad result is a significant increase in the numbers of civilian casualties – at least 1,200 have been killed since January this year.” He cited a record 606 roadside bombs and 133 suicide attacks so far this year, which is significantly higher than the 88 suicide bombings recorded by the U.N. last year. (Reuters, 10/15/07)
· More foreign fighters have arrived in Afghanistan this year than any time since 2001. According to a recent New York Times article, “The foreign fighters are not only bolstering the ranks of the insurgency. They are more violent, uncontrollable and extreme than even their locally bred allies, officials on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border warn… Their growing numbers point to the worsening problem of lawlessness in Pakistan’s tribal areas, which they use as a base to train alongside militants from Al Qaeda who have carried out terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Europe, according to Western diplomats. ‘We’ve seen an unprecedented level of reports of foreign-fighter involvement,’ said Maj. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux, deputy commander for security of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. ‘They’ll threaten people if they don’t provide meals and support.’ In interviews in southern and eastern Afghanistan, local officials and village elders also reported having seen more foreigners fighting alongside the Taliban than in any year since the American-led invasion in 2001.” (New York Times, 10/30/07)
The Iraq War Has Contributed to a Declining Opinion of the United States Around the World, Making Us Less Safe
Foreign policy experts from both sides of the aisle warn that the war in Iraq is making us less safe. According to a nonpartisan survey of foreign policy experts,”Eighty eight percent of the experts believe that the war in Iraq is having a negative impact on U.S. national security.” (Center for American Progress and Foreign Policy, The Terrorism Index, 2/13/07)
The global image of the United States has declined significantly in recent years. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, “Since 2002…the image of the United States has declined in most parts of the world. Favorable ratings of America are lower in 26 of 33 countries for which trends are available. The U.S. image remains abysmal in most Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia, and continues to decline among the publics of many of America’s oldest allies. Favorable views of the U.S. are in single digits in Turkey (9%) and have declined to 15% in Pakistan. Currently, just 30% of Germans have a positive view of the U.S. – down from 42% as recently as two years ago – and favorable ratings inch ever lower in Great Britain and Canada.” (Pew Global Attitudes Project, 6/27/07)
· Negative views of the United States are particularly widespread in most Muslim countries. “The U.S. image remains abysmal in most Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia, and continues to decline…Favorable views of the U.S. are in single digits in Turkey (9 percent) and have declined to 15 percent in Pakistan.” (Pew Global Attitudes Project, 6/27/07)
· The U.S. image has fallen significantly, even among key allies. America’s image “continues to decline among the publics of many of America’s oldest allies…Currently, just 30 percent of Germans have a positive view of the U.S. – down from 42 percent as recently as two years ago – and favorable ratings inch ever lower in Great Britain and Canada.” (Pew Global Attitudes Project, 6/27/07)
A poll of residents in 25 countries found that just 29 percent believe that the United States exerts a mainly positive influence in the world, down from 36 percent in 2006 and 40 percent in 2005. The BBC World Service survey conducted in 25 nations between November 2006 and January 2007, found that the “number of [countries polled] who said the US was a positive influence in the world fell in 18 nations polled in previous years. In those countries, 29 percent of people said the U.S. had a positive influence, down from 36 percent last year and 40 percent two years ago. Across the 25 countries polled, 49 percent of respondents said the U.S. played a mainly negative role in the world.” (BBC (UK), 1/23/07)
· Three of four respondents disapproved of the U.S. handling of Iraq. The poll found that an average of 73 percent of respondents disapproved of U.S. policy in Iraq. (BBC (UK), 1/23/07)
· The vast majority of respondents believe that the U.S. military presence in the Middle East is playing a destabilizing role. “When asked about U.S. military presence in the Middle East, an average of 68 percent of respondents across the 25 countries found that it ‘provokes more conflict that it prevents.’” (BBC (UK), 1/23/07)
While Pouring Money Into Iraq, The Bush Administration Has Failed to Invest in Domestic Priorities At Home
No Child Left Behind has been underfunded by $70 billion since 2002. Since 2002 when it was enacted, the No Child Left Behind Act has been underfunded by $70 billion. This cumulative funding gap is comprised of the difference between funding authorized by the bill and the actual annual appropriations from Fiscal Year 2002 through Fiscal Year 2008, using the funding included in the Fiscal Year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education conference report, which was vetoed by the President. (NEA, 11/8/07)
The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the U.S. must invest $1.6 trillion over five years to bring the nation’s infrastructure to good condition. In 2005, the Americans Society of Civil Engineers estimated that $1.6 trillion is needed over a five-year period to bring the nation’s infrastructure to good condition. (American Society of Civil Engineers, Action Plan for the 110th Congress)
The cost of four months in Iraq could modernize and ensure interoperable communications for America’S.2.5 million first responders. The Department of Homeland Security has estimated that it would cost $40 billion to modernize communications for the 2.5 million first responders in the United States. (Department of Homeland Security, 3/17/04)
The cost of three months in Iraq could secure all weapons-usable materials in Russia, to prevent this material from falling into the hands of terrorists. In the countries of the former Soviet Union there is currently enough unsecured radioactive material to build 40,000 nuclear weapons. In 2001, the bipartisan Baker-Cutler Commission stated that the “most urgent unmet national security threat to the United States today, is the danger that weapons of mass-destruction or weapons-usable material in Russia could be stolen and sold to terrorists or hostile nation states and used against American troops abroad or citizens at home. The Commission reported that it would cost $30 billion over eight to ten years to secure all weapons-usable material in Russia. (Campaign for America’s Future, A Report Card on the Department of Energy’s Nonproliferation Programs with Russia, 1/10/01])
The cost of 22 days in Iraq could safeguard our nation’s ports from attack. The Coast Guard has estimated that $7.5 billion over ten years would be necessary to implement the requirements of the 2002 Maritime Transportation Safety Act, which would protect U.S. ports and waterways from terrorist threats. (Center for American Progress, 7/1/04)
The cost of 18 hours in Iraq could secure U.S. chemical plants. According to the CBO, it would cost $255 million over five years to fully fund the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. (CBO, 6/26/06)