$20 billion spent on war so far-article
WASHINGTON (April 16) - The Pentagon has spent more than $20 billion so far in the war against Iraq and will spend up to $4 billion more each month the war continues, defense officials said Wednesday.
That doesn't include the several billion dollars it will cost to bring combat troops back home, said Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon's comptroller. He also offered no estimate of the cost of stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq.
At a Pentagon news conference, Zakheim said military operations in Iraq to date have cost about $10 billion to $12 billion. Personnel costs have been about $6 billion and the cost of munitions has been more than $3 billion. He provided no exact figures but said the total was more than $20 billion.
Zakheim was explaining how the Pentagon will use the $62.6 billion Congress has approved in supplemental spending over the Pentagon's $364 billion for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. Nearly all the new money is for the war in Iraq and the global war on terror, including $7 billion toward Iraq reconstruction.
Zakheim initially told reporters that the war in Iraq will cost an estimated $2 billion a month through September, but officials later said it would be more like $3.5 billion to $4 billion because the cost of salaries and benefits for activated reserve troops had inadvertently been left out of his briefing papers. That would mean up to $20 billion more through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.
Of the $20 billion spent on the war so far, about $4 billion was those costs of mobilizing reserves.
It is not yet known many U.S. troops will be needed for the postwar period of reconstruction, Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in a later Pentagon press conference on the war.
''It's really too early to tell,'' he said. The size of the U.S. force needed for postwar security will depend in part on how willing other countries are to contribute peacekeeping troops, officials have said.
Gen. Tommy Franks, the U.S. war commander, made his first trip to Baghdad on Wednesday. His spokesman, Jim Wilkinson, confirmed Franks' trip but provided no details. A full description of his visit was expected to be released later Wednesday, Wilkinson said. Franks has run the war from a command post at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, in the Persian Gulf.
At some point, the command post for coalition troops in Iraq likely will be moved from Kuwait to Iraq, McChrystal said, either to Baghdad or elsewhere in the country.
The supplemental spending bill also provides $34 million for the counter-narcotics programs in Colombia.
Among the bill's outlays for the global war on terrorism is $1.4 billion to repay allies such as Pakistan, which Zakheim said is spending $70 million a month searching its northern tribal areas for members of al-Qaida. Jordan also will be reimbursed, he said, without giving a figure.
The Pentagon announced Wednesday that it has identified the remains of Marine Corps Cpl. Kemaphoom A. Chanawongse, 22, of Waterford, Conn., who was listed as missing after a March 23 firefight near Nasiriyah in southern Iraq. He is now listed as killed in action. There are three Americans still listed as missing.