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Rumsfeld, Myers Urge House to Support $87B Supplemental Bill

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2003 – Rebuilding Iraq is as important to long-term security in the region as providing a secure environment, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said during testimony to the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee today.

Rumsfeld, joined by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, told representatives that President Bush's $87 billion supplemental request for fiscal 2004 is an investment in peace in the region and the world.

The supplemental spending request, which also includes money for Operation Enduring Freedom, is before the subcommittee. House staffers said most of the money -- some $66 billion -- is earmarked for military operations, and they said this is not controversial and will likely pass. About $21 billion is for rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan, and that proposal will draw fire, they said.

Rumsfeld broke down the spending request. About $51 billion will go tocombat operations in Iraq, with $11 billion going to military operations in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and other operation Enduring Freedom missions. "The remaining $21 billion is to help Afghanistan and Iraq secure their nations for freedom, so they can get on a path of stability, self-government and self- reliance," Rumsfeld said.

In Afghanistan, the request allots $400 million to train and support the Afghan National Army, to support the national police and the border patrol, and to stand up other security organs. Another $120 million would be used to demobilize militias spread throughout the country. The money will also train the militiamen for civilian jobs.

More than $300 million will go for infrastructure improvements such as roads, schools and clinics throughout. Another $300 million will go to support the national government and to help solidify support for the rule of law and to promote free elections in the country.

The job is much larger in Iraq. President Bush requested $20 billion that would be distributed by the Coaltion Provisional Authority. Rumsfeld said $15 billion is slated for repairs to the country's "starved and dilapidated" infrastructure, and $5 billion to help Iraqis assume responsibility for security for the country.

The secretary said other countries will contribute to the rebuilding effort, but most of the funds will come from Iraq itself. Coalition Provisional Authority officials said Iraqi oil revenues should generate $2.5 billion this year, and with improvements to the oil infrastructure, that figure should jump to $12 billion in 2004 and $20 billion by 2005.

More than $5 billion is needed in fiscal 2004 to train Iraqis to take over much of the policing work in the country. Foreign investment will not take place without a secure environment, Rumsfeld said. Some $2 billion is slated for public safety, including training of an additional 40,000 police in the next 18 months. Another $2 billion is earmarked to train a new three-division Iraqi army and an Iraqi civil defense corps. A billion dollars will go to the Iraqi justice system.

"The investments the president is requesting are ... a critical element of the coalition's exit strategy: the sooner the Iraqis can defend their own people, the sooner the U.S. and coalition forces can come home," Rumsfeld said. "Reaching our goals requires investments to improve critical infrastructure and basic services necessary to jumpstart their economy. Iraq cannot make those improvements today without assistance from others."

Rumsfeld compared the request with the Marshall Plan. "The Marshall Plan after World War II cost about $90 billion in today's dollars," he said. "Those investments helped transform a region that had been a source of violent war and instability for centuries and turn it into a place of peace, prosperity and mutually beneficial trade."

Both the secretary and Myers stressed that the United States is not "going it alone" in the war on terrorism. Rumsfeld said 49 nations have troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. The North Atlantic Alliance has taken over the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, and Myers said more than 70 countries are helping in the war on terror worldwide.

Myers said there is no option but to fight and win the war on terror.

"In my view, the stakes could not be higher," he told the representatives. "Defeat means the destruction of our way of life that we've forged over two and a quarter centuries. Victory will restore the sense of security that was shattered on Sept. 11, 2001."

Myers said there is plenty of evidence that there is progress in the war on terrorism. Two regimes that supported terrorism have been overthrown. Al Qaeda has been shattered and dispersed. In Iraq, tens of thousands of Iraqis are working with the coalition to build a better country.

But the funds in the supplemental request are necessary to continue the progress, Myers said. The United States must remain committed to victory over the terrorists, and the American people must maintain the "will to win" as service members face the foe.

"The terrorists have said and think that they are going to win," Myers said. "They don't believe that we have the will to stick this out. In my view again, they are absolutely wrong. We can't let them win and we won't, as long as we have the continuing will of the American people and, for that matter, freedom- loving people everywhere."

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