Today is our 362nd day back in Iraq. While the date of our return is somewhat nebulous, I've been using June 19..so this Friday marks one year back at war.
Fortunately, there have been no new casualties in Iraq to report.
We find this morning's Cost of War passing through: 1, 621, 076, 150, 000 .00
So, let's think only a little about Congress' abdicated responsibility. After Pearl Harbor was attacked, the first War Powers act
moved swiftly through Congress and was signed into law on December 18. The initial pass gave President Roosevelt widespread powers to organize and operate the war. As far as I can tell, it was never repealed or modified. Some 30 years later, at the tail end of the Vietnam debacle, Congress attempted to modify that power with the War Powers Resolution
. With WWII being our last 'declared' war, Congress felt the military actions undertaken by the Presidents since then needed some kind of check.
The War Powers Resolution of 1973 (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) is a federal law intended to check the president's power to commit the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of the U.S. Congress. The resolution was adopted in the form of a United States Congress joint resolution; this provides that the U.S. President can send U.S. Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, "statutory authorization," or in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."
The War Powers Resolution requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto.
So here we are, a year after the President essentially arbitrarily decided we should be back in Iraq fighting ISIS. Congress has completed abdicated its responsibility in this matter, and continues to do so every day.
So what happens when there are no checks and balances? It's not quite a private little war anymore. With nothing to stop them, the Pentagon is planning further escalation in Iraq.
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is laying the groundwork for a greater presence in Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed, one day after announcing an increase in personnel in the al-Anbar province.
The expansion could feature "several" locations throughout Iraq, including more inside al-Anbar, said Col. Steven Warren, Pentagon spokesman. Asked if the Pentagon was "actively" making plans for new bases within Iraq, Warren concurred.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the New York Times on June 11 that the Pentagon was looking at an expansion, referring to the basing structure as "lily pads" from which personnel could work with local fighters to combat the Islamic State, often referred to as ISIS.
The Obama administration announced June 10 it was upping the presence of troops in country, specifically by placing up to 450 personnel at al-Taqaddum Air Base, a facility located between the al-Anbar province's two major cities — Ramadi and Fallujah.
Those troops are filling a different need than the basic training mission that is ongoing at four other locations in Iraq. Instead, they will fill two missions: to advise at a higher level the Iraqi Army 8th Division, and to interface with local Sunni military forces and try to integrate them into the Iraqi military.
Warren said June 11 that the vast majority of those personnel at al-Taqaddum — around 400 — would be new troops being moved into Iraq from outside the country.
The move increases US personnel in Iraq to 3,550, three-and-a-half years after the US military officially withdrew from Iraq— and with the new Pentagon plan, that number is likely to increase.
Of course, war costs money. Scroll back up to the top and take a look at our static "Cost of War" figure. This goes all the way back to 2003, so over the last almost 20 years now, we have spent in excess of one trillion dollars
on our overseas adventures. You can add another 2.7 billion to that mix
, an amount that in ordinary times would be huge, but against our long-running total is almost meaningless now.
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. has spent more than $2.7 billion on the war against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria since bombings began last August, and the average daily cost is now more than $9 million, the Pentagon said Thursday.
Releasing a detailed breakdown of the costs for the first time, the Defense Department showed that the Air Force has borne two-thirds of the total spending, or more than $1.8 billion. The daily combat, reconnaissance and other flights eat up more than $5 million a day.
The data also provided a rare look into the often secret special operations costs, which totaled more than $200 million since August.
The release of the spending totals came as Congress debated and rejected legislation Thursday that would have banned spending on the combat operations until lawmakers passed a new war powers resolution.
Military operations cost have grown since airstrikes began in Iraq in August, and then expanded to Syria the following month. The bulk of the strikes has been in Iraq, as the U.S. and coalition strikes have tried to help Iraqi forces retake key and hold key cities.
Other total costs include $438 million for the Navy, including fighters and other ship support; $274 million for the Army, which has trainers and special forces troops on the ground; $16 million for military pay; $646 million for munitions; and $21 million for intelligence and surveillance operations.
We do seem to be going around in circles here. Let's hope it's not circling the drain.