The Bush administration is preparing its largest spending request yet for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a proposal that could make the conflict the most expensive since World War II.
The Pentagon is considering $127 billion to $160 billion in requests from the armed services for the 2007 fiscal year, which began last month, several lawmakers and congressional staff members said. That's on top of $70 billion already approved for 2007.
Since 2001, Congress has approved $502 billion for the war on terror, roughly two-thirds for Iraq. The latest request, due to reach the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress next spring, would make the war on terror more expensive than the Vietnam War.
"They're simply not complying with the law. It's incredible."
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) raised eyebrows yesterday with that comment regarding the Bush administration, made before a crowd of several hundred at a Washington, D.C. event.
At issue is a report on climate change that Congress requires every ten years. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is responsible for producing the document, last filed a report in 2000. A new report -- the first to be filed by the Bush administration -- was due in November 2004, but to date the agency has not done so.
"When you get to that degree of obfuscation, then you get a little depressed," McCain said, according to the trade daily Environment and Energy.
McCain has rapped the administration before over the long-overdue report.
Pentagon guidelines that classified homosexuality as a mental disorder now put it among a list of conditions or "circumstances" that range from bed-wetting to fear of flying.
The new rules are related to the military's retirement practices. The change does not affect the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prohibits officials from inquiring about the sex lives of service members and requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay.
The revision came in response to criticism this year when it was discovered that the guidelines listed homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.
Mental health professionals said Thursday they were not satisfied by the change.
"We appreciate your good-faith effort to address our concern that the document was not medically accurate," James H. Scully, head of the American Psychiatric Association, wrote David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "But we remain concerned because we believe that the revised document lacks the clarity necessary to resolve the issue."