The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In Bill’s Fine Print, Millions to Celebrate Victory - New York Times

n Bill’s Fine Print, Millions to Celebrate Victory
By THOM SHANKER

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 — As the Bush administration urges Americans to stay the course in Iraq, Republicans in Congress have put down a quiet marker in the apparent hope that V-I Day might be only months away.

Tucked away in fine print in the military spending bill for this past year was a lump sum of $20 million to pay for a celebration in the nation’s capital “for commemoration of success” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Not surprisingly, the money was not spent.

Now Congressional Republicans are saying, in effect, maybe next year. A paragraph written into spending legislation and approved by the Senate and House allows the $20 million to be rolled over into 2007.

The original legislation empowered the president to designate “a day of celebration” to commemorate the success of the armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to “issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

The celebration would honor the soldiers, sailors, air crews and marines who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it would be held in Washington, with the $20 million to cover the costs of military participation.

Democrats called attention to the measure, an act that Republicans are likely to portray as an effort to embarrass them five weeks before the midterm election. The Democrats said both the original language and the extension were pushed by Senate Republicans. A spokesman for the Republican-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee said it was protocol not to identify sponsors of such specific legislation.

The overall legislation was approved in the Senate by unanimous consent and overwhelmingly in the House after a short debate.

Democrats nevertheless said they were not pleased.

“If the Bush administration had spent more time planning for the postwar occupation of Iraq, and less time planning ‘mission accomplished’ victory celebrations, America would be closer to finishing the job in Iraq,” said Rebecca M. Kirszner, communications director for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader.

Lt. Col. Brian Maka, a Pentagon spokesman, said late Tuesday that the event was envisioned as an opportunity for “honoring returning U.S. forces at the conclusion” of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. “As the funds were not used in F.Y. 2006,” the official said, using the initials for fiscal year, “the authorization was rolled over into F.Y. 2007.”

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