Bush to ask billions more for Iraq - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9-8-03

Bush to ask billions more for Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush told Americans Sunday night he will ask Congress for an additional $87 billion to continue the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He will also ask more nations to help pay the cost.

"This will take time and require sacrifice. Yet we will do whatever is necessary -- we will spend whatever is necessary -- to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom, and to make our own nation more secure," Bush said.

A congressional source said Bush's request is based on assumptions that the cost of military operations in Iraq alone will exceed $4 billion a month for at least the next year.

Billions more will be used for the reconstruction effort, which the White House at one point said would be paid for largely through the sales of Iraqi oil.

On Monday, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, speaking on NBC's "Today Show," said that the $87 billion includes about $20 billion for reconstruction in Iraq.

Bush said the world has changed since the war began and there will be "no going back."

"For [the Iraqis], there will be no going back to the days of the dictator -- to the miseries and humiliation he inflicted on that good country," Bush said in his televised address.

"For the Middle East and the world, there will be no going back to the days of fear -- when a brutal and aggressive tyrant possessed terrible weapons.

"And for America, there will be no going back to the era before September 11, 2001 -- to false comfort in a dangerous world."

The United States will seek additional international support to rebuild Iraq and will restore self-rule there, Bush said. Iraq is now occupied by a U.S.-led coalition.

"I recognize that not all of our friends agreed with our decision to enforce the Security Council resolutions and remove Saddam Hussein from power," Bush said. "Yet we cannot let past differences interfere with present duties."

Members of the United Nations, he said, "have an opportunity and the responsibility to assume a broader role in assuring that Iraq becomes a free and democratic nation."

Bush said that over the next two months Secretary of State Colin Powell will meet with representatives of many nations to discuss their financial contributions to the reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Europe, Japan and states in the Middle East will benefit from the success of freedom in these two countries, and they should contribute to that success," he said.

Bush also detailed his strategy for the continuing war in Iraq.

"Our strategy in Iraq has three objectives -- destroying terrorists -- enlisting the support of other nations for a free Iraq -- and helping Iraqis assume responsibility for their own defense and their own future," he said.

Before the speech, several prominent Democrats expressed skepticism about Bush's Iraq policy.

House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, a candidate for his party's nomination, was among them.

"The problem now is the president did his photo op -- he landed on the aircraft carrier, declared the war was over -- but he's never had a plan, and he's never gotten us the help that we need and our troops deserve from other countries," Gephardt said.

More U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq since May 1, when Bush declared an end to major combat there, than were killed during the invasion, in part because of an ongoing guerrilla campaign against coalition troops. (Interactive: Coalition casualties)

At least two American soldiers were wounded Monday morning when a logistics convoy was hit with an improvised explosives device near the capital's Tahrir Square, a U.S. military spokesman said.

Eyewitnesses told a slightly different story, saying three soldiers were wounded in the attack -- two seriously -- when a device was thrown off a bridge and into the convoy. A pair of Humvees were damaged.

A string of car bombings in Iraq last month killed more than 100 people, including a leading Shiite Muslim cleric and the U.N. special representative for Iraq.

The administration has asked the United Nations to help it establish a new Iraqi government and to authorize a U.S.-led multinational force for Iraq in hopes that it will prompt other countries to contribute troops to stabilize the country.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said he was not sure the proposed U.N. resolution would address the immediate problems in Iraq.

"It's the United States' war. We're the ones that started it. It's our responsibility to finish it," McCain told CBS. "We need more troops. We need more money. We need it quickly, and time is not on our side."

Bush told Americans that the United States is making progress in the war on terror.

"We are rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization, not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power," he said.

"In a series of raids and actions around the world, nearly two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed, and we continue on al Qaeda's trail," Bush said.

"We have exposed terrorist front groups, seized terrorist accounts, taken new measures to protect our homeland, and uncovered sleeper cells inside the United States.

"And we acted in Iraq, where the former regime sponsored terror, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction, and for 12 years defied the clear demands of the United Nations Security Council."


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