President Signs $87.5 Billion Package for Iraq, Afghanistan
By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2003 "No enemy or friend can doubt that America has the resources and the will to see this war through to victory," said President Bush before signing the $87.5 billion supplemental appropriations bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Today, the United States is making a critical financial commitment to this global strategy to defeat terror," he told those assembled in the White House East Room today. "We're supporting our servicemen and women in the field of battle. We're supporting reconstruction and the emergence of democratic institutions in a vital area of the world. The American people accept these responsibilities now in our time so that we will not face far greater dangers in the future."
The bill provides $64.7 billion for military operations in Iraq, in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Of this, about $51 billion is for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and $10 billion for Operation Enduring Freedom. The remaining monies will cover costs with Operation Noble Eagle and support for allies in the war on terror.
"We're supporting such basic military necessities as air, rail and sea transportation for American and coalition troops to the theaters of action," said Bush. "We will purchase ammunition for our weapons and fuel and spare parts for airplanes and helicopters and vehicles. We will replace equipment lost or damaged in combat. We will acquire vital new equipment such as armored humvees and body armor and communications gear.
"Our servicemen and women are carrying out their missions with skill and honor and they deserve the finest equipment and best weapons we can provide," he added.
The legislation contains funds to pay service members, including hazardous duty pay, said Bush. "We'll also cover all the salaries of National Guard and Reserve troops who have left jobs and home and families in an hour of national need," he pointed out. "The American government will keep its responsibilities to all who risk their lives for America."
The bill also includes $18.6 billion for rebuilding efforts in Iraq. Another $1.2 billion is for reconstruction in Afghanistan.
"We'll help train and equip the growing number of Iraqis and Afghans who are fighting and dying to defend and secure their rights," said the president. "We'll help to upgrade the hospitals and schools and repair infrastructure and improve basic services, including water, electricity and sanitation."
The president called America's investment in Iraq and Afghanistan the "greatest commitment" since the Marshall Plan. "By this action we show the generous spirit of our country, and we serve the interest of our country, because our security is as stake," he said. "The Middle East region will either become a place of progress and peace, or it will remain a source of violence and terror.
"And we're determined to see the triumph of progress and the triumph of peace in that region," Bush added. "We will do all in our power to ensure that freedom finds a lasting home in Afghanistan and Iraq."
He said the United States is "engaged in a massive and difficult undertaking" and likened the situation to that of post World War II.
"After World War II, we made long-term commitments to the transformation of Germany and Japan so that those nations would not be sources of war, but our partners in peace," Bush said. "That investment in peace has been repaid many times over. Now, our generation will show the same perseverance and the same vision in the cause for peace."