Fund request also marks escalation in aid to “vetted” Syrian opposition forces
An anti-war protest in 2010. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/cc/flickr)President Obama on Thursday announced he would ask Congress for $58.6 billion in war funding for the 2015 fiscal year.
A White House statement outlining the request for what is formally called the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) notes that it is $20.9 billion less than what had been figured in an earlier budget.
The OCO—re-branded from the Global War on Terror—fund is in addition to the nearly $500 billion base FY2015 budget for the Defense Department.
The OCO budget “isn’t subject to caps or cuts or any restrictions at all,” as Mattea Kramer of the National Priorities Projected has noted, and, as Defense News reported earlier this month, “The administration has never announced a final year for OCO funding.”
“While it is good to see the Overseas Contingency Operations account finally begin to come down, the Pentagon’s request continues to use OCO as a massive slush fund to avoid fiscal discipline,” Stephen Miles, coalition coordinator for Win Without War, stated to Common Dreams. “At nearly $60 billion, the request is $40 billion over what the Administration itself has pegged as the costs of our mission in Afghanistan,” he added.
Included within the nearly $60 billion request is “$500 million for a proposed authority to train and equip vetted elements of the Syrian armed opposition to help defend the Syrian people, stabilize areas under opposition control, facilitate the provision of essential services, counter terrorist threats, and promote conditions for a negotiated settlement.”
As Democracy Now! reported Friday, “If approved, it would mark the most direct U.S. military role in the [Syrian] conflict to date, following more covert forms of support for the rebels.”
In contrast to calls by war hawks for continued military intervention, Miles added that the American public doesn’t want continued war funding.
“Americans want our tax dollars to be coming home with our troops,” he stated.