Less than two months after receiving a Nobel Peace Prize, the President is proposing a huge increase in war spending.
Despite his campaign pledges to the contrary, Obama's new budget calls for expenditures associated with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to increase to levels only ten percent below the average of former President George W. Bush's last two years in office.
Given the media's anti-war predilections, it's going to be fascinating to see how the following numbers revealed by Politico a few hours ago will be reported in the coming days:
President Barack Obama's new budget, to be released Monday, forecasts two consecutive years of near $160 billion in war funding, far more than he hoped when elected and only modestly less than the last years of the Bush Administration.
In 2011 alone, the revised numbers are triple what the president included in his spending plan a year ago. [...]
The president's 2010 defense budget a year ago requested $130 billion for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and just $50 billion in 2011. The new budget ramps up 2010 spending to $163 billion and for 2011 requests $159 billion in overseas contingency funds for the military.
This reverses the drop in war-related spending seen in fiscal 2009, which ended last Sept 30th and was a transition year of sorts between the two administrations. When compared to the peak war spending of the Bush years, Obama is only about 10% below Bush's annual average of $176 billion in fiscal years 2007 and 2008-the time of the Iraq war surge.
This budget proposal comes just five days after Obama blamed current and future budget deficits on his predecessor "not paying for two wars."
With this in mind, and given how the media loved to ridicule Bush for what they felt was unnecessary military spending, it's going to be fascinating to see how they react to Monday's announcement.