Good News (Bad News): Iraq War Money Runs Out. (More is on the Way.)


Good news!

The U.S. Army has run out of money and won’t be able to run the Vietraq War past mid-June.

Bad news!

It’s just a piece of budget trickery by the DOD. calls it “the Pentagon’s latest sob story,” explaining:

The Pentagon’s latest sob story about having to borrow from its main budget in order to pay for the Iraq war may sound dramatic. But this Chicken Little approach to war budgeting is less about congressional gridlock than it is about an archaic Pentagon accounting system in dire need of reform.

The Defense Department (DOD) wants Congress to approve $10 billion in transfers from the Navy, Air Force, and other accounts, to the Army, or else, officials claim, the Army won’t be able to run war operations past mid-June. The extra money will allow operations to continue until July, by which time Congress should have passed the next $165 billion installment to pay for our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. That bill is currently awaiting action by the House of Representatives, but has been tied up in a fight over unemployment benefits and other domestic spending add-ons.

These budgetary maneuvers further obscure how much of DOD’s budget goes toward war spending.

Good news!

The Southern Baptist Convention has refused to officially condemn a California law that clamps down on gay-bashing by public school teachers. Frustrated extremists in the nation’s largest single denomination (and the country’s lowest common denominator) vow to pull their kids out of California’s public schools.

Bad news!

They haven’t pulled their kids out yet.

Good news!

The days are numbered for the Bush-Cheney regime’s unconstitutional Guantanamo Bay prison. Especially after the Supreme Court ruled that its inmates actually have habeas corpus rights.

Bad news!

We’re building a new Gitmo in Afghanistan.

From the Institute for War & Peace Reporting’s Hafizullah Gardesh and Jean MacKenzie in Kabul:

In mid-May, the Pentagon announced plans to build a 40-acre, 60 million US dollar detention centre to replace the deteriorating facility at Bagram airfield, a base originally built and used by the Soviet Union during its war in Afghanistan in 1979-89.

Just an upgrade, huh? The IWPR report continues:

The news has made many Afghans uneasy. For many, Bagram conjures up images of arrest, torture and humiliation.

In 2002, two men died in US custody at Bagram. One of them, who went by the name Dilawar, became the subject of a widely acclaimed documentary called Taxi to the Dark Side.

Arrested on a tip-off from a man later proved to be a Taliban supporter, he was repeatedly beaten and died after two days in detention.

Since then, dozens, if not hundreds, of prisoners have passed through Bagram on their way to Guantanamo Bay. According to many of them, Bagram is worse than the prison in Cuba.

A researcher who has conducted numerous interviews with prisoners released from Bagram told IWPR that they claimed to have been humiliated, beaten, stripped naked, and thrown down stairs during initial interrogations.

“The guards told the prisoners, ‘Now you are no longer in Afghanistan. We can do anything we want,’” said the researcher.

None of the detainees interviewed were ever charged with any criminal activity.

Good news!

The average U.S. worker made just over $29,000 last year, while ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson made $50,000, according to SEC records. That seems like a reasonable gap.

Bad news!

Tillerson’s pay was actually $50,000 a day.