Speaker: Robert D. Hormats Presider: Lawrence J. Korb
As the fight between Congress and the administration about Iraq war funding rages, Robert D. Hormats, vice chairman at Goldman Sachs and author of The Price of Liberty: Paying for America's Wars, contends that borrowing to pay for the Iraq war and an unclear fiscal strategy for paying for a long-term war on terror threaten not only our financial security, but our national security.
This commentary from the Center for Economic & Policy Research considers the Iraq War's impact on the U.S. economy. The paper says that although it is often believed that wars and military spending increases are good for the economy, this is not generally true in most standard economic models.
Writing in the National Journal, defense specialist George C Wilson considers two key defense budget documents – the “National Defense Estimates,” known to Department of Defense (DOD) budget analysts as “the Greenbook,” and the “Selected Acquisition Reports,” the DOD-released estimates of past and future weapons costs – to conclude that the US government is spending more money in real terms on the Iraq war than was spent on the Vietnam war, despite the deployed military force being only one quarter the size of that used in Vietnam.
This act, the Senate's version of the House's March 23 bill, calls for $122 billion in funding for Afghanistan and Iraq, a start to the withdrawal of troops from Iraq within 120 days after the bill's passage, and a nonbinding goal to end military operations by March 31, 2008.
The defense budget of the United States, the world's leading military power throughout the twentieth century, is not enough for the country to confront the threats of the twenty-first. It should be increased -- and can be without negatively affecting the economy. The money is available; it must be joined by political will.
The US Army Times reports comments from the acting Pentagon inspector general, that army spending on contractors is out of control: speaking before the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on readiness the inspector said that procurement laws are routinely violated, "price reasonableness," competitive awards and contractor oversight are abandoned, and millions of dollars are wasted.
With wars in Afghanistan and Iraq consuming lives, equipment, and political capital, talk of financial costs may seem petty. But this is budget season, and the way the Bush administration has been paying for the war is about to become a political issue.
This analysis in the Congressional Quarterly points out that three independent assessments place the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus anti-terrorism activities, at amounts in excess of the Bush administration’s figures. The difference ranges from $16 billion in the estimate of the Government Accountability Office to $18 billion in the view of the Congressional Budget Office to $23 billion in the estimate of the Congressional Research Service.
This Washington Institute paper outlines how for more than a decade, Iran has lavished a considerable share of its defense budget on its naval forces (which consist of both regular and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps units), believing that the Persian Gulf will be its front line in the event of a confrontation with the United States. Following a naval war-fighting doctrine that suits its revolutionary ethos, Iran has developed innovative, asymmetric naval warfare tactics that exploit its favorable geographic situation, build on its strengths, and target the vulnerabilities of its enemies.
Leaks regarding the Bush administration's confidence in the Iraqi prime minister and a bipartisan commission's recommendations regarding American troop withdrawals create complications during the president's trip to the Middle East.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.