Debt ceilings. Fiscal cliffs. Government shutdowns. Nuclear options.
With those kinds of noisy debates driving most weeks on Capitol Hill, one could be excused for wondering if lawmakers already have washed their collective hands with the Afghanistan war. But when searching for an answer, as the old saying goes, just follow the money.
That’s what your correspondent was doing when scrolling through the war-funding section of a massive omnibus spending measure released late Monday evening. If you think Congress is done with Afghanistan, think again. Dollar signs rarely lie.
Lawmakers are still spending American treasure there — in the billions of dollars. Just look at one section titled “Afghanistan Security Forces Fund,” which is slated to get $4.7 billion (with a B) in fiscal 2014.
Those funds would be used, as they have for nearly a decade, “the provision of equipment, supplies, services, training, facility and infrastructure repair, renovation, and construction, and funding” for Afghanistan’s security forces.
Lawmakers also are poised to approve spending up to another $199 million on unspecified “infrastructure projects in Afghanistan.”
That puts our running total in the war-funding section at roughly $4.9 billion alone.
Far-right Republican lawmakers want to remove all US troops from Afghanistan and pivot not to Asia but toward a policy of complete isolationism. Liberal Democrats would rather that nearly $5 billion to bolster social safety net programs or sure up America’s infrastructure.
After each chamber votes, take note of how many members from each of those factions votes for the omnibus measure. Both parties remain heavily invested in Afghanistan remaining somewhat stable — and something other than a safehaven for al-Qaida. Numbers don’t lie, even if politicians do.
Latest posts by John T. Bennett (see all)
- Twitter Does It Again: Behold @cromnibus - December 10, 2014
- The Ironies of Chuck Hagel’s Pentagon Dismissal - November 25, 2014
- Review: ‘Madam Secretary’ Is A Thrill Ride of Missed Opportunities - October 17, 2014