Bush Administration's War Spending Nears Half-Trillion Dollars

ByABC News
February 16, 2006, 7:05 PM

Feb. 16, 2006 — -- In a single year, it is difficult to measure overall progress in the war on terror. But ABC News has learned today that President Bush will ask Congress for an additional $65.3 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It brings the total funds requested this year to more than $110 billion for those operations.

This is the fourth time in three years that the Bush administration has asked for additional funds for Iraq and Afghanistan, and the $65 billion request is $2 billion higher than expected.

Of that amount, $38 billion will be spent for ongoing military operations, with $11 billion going to repair and replenish war-fighting equipment ravaged by wear and tear.

Another $1.9 billion is allocated for protecting against improvised explosive devices.

The blizzard of numbers boils down to nearly $7 billion a month.

"I'm still stunned that there's no downward motion at all in the monthly costs. And clearly in 2006, the administration plans on no end in sight to that," said Michael E. O'Hanlon, senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution.

This increase would bring the cost of the war thus far to $400 billion -- a far cry from the administration's original estimates.

Just before the invasion of Iraq in 2002, White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsay estimated the cost would be $100 billion to $200 billion.

That estimate was later dismissed by Mitch Daniels, then director of the Office of Management and Budget, who said costs would be between $50 billion to $60 billion.

Today Democratic lawmakers called for the president to provide more information about spending on the war.

"The president has a responsibility," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. "He has to tell us the true costs of the war."

"I am very concerned that we are going to be asked for a boatload of additional funding," said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.

The money from this supplemental request is expected to keep operations going only for the next eight months. The White House has already said an additional $50 billion for Iraq will likely be requested later this year.

ABC News' Martha Raddatz filed this report for "World News Tonight."