Appropriation political, necessary

For Immediate Release:

May 7, 2004

Contact:Editorial

Jackson Clarion-Ledger

Democrats in Congress are zeroing in on President Bush's request for $25 billion in more war funds, perhaps rightly.

The president had left out the request in the budget he presented to Congress earlier. But increased violence in Iraq has pushed up costs more than the Pentagon had expected.

Democrats are making political hay. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-MD, called the request "the most recent episode in a pattern of secrecy by an administration that refuses to share information with the American people even when confronted with facts that stand in opposition to their policies."

He has a point, particularly with President Bush obviously having tried to control the timing of asking for more war funds until after November's election, and recent revelations in the book by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack. Woodward reported that in 2002, the administration diverted $700 million to Iraq war preparations from a $40 billion anti-terrorism package to avoid public scrutiny.

Bush's biggest defender in the request, surprisingly, is the apparent Democratic nominee U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who said simply, U.S. troops "need to get what they need."

Although scrutiny is merited, the troops need support.