Following in the footsteps of George W. Bush, President Obama has requested another $33 billion of “emergency”, off-budget spending on the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.
As a presidential candidate, Obama often criticized President Bush’s chronic use of supplemental war spending bills, which added to the national debt. In February 2009, President Obama told Congress, “For seven years, we have been a nation at war. We will no longer hide its price.” In April 2009, Obama requested tens of billions more in supplemental funding for the wars, but wrote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “This is the last planned war supplemental.”
Republicans and Democrats are haggling over how to pay for the off-budget war spending increase, but the bill is likely to pass as US troops continue operations in both war theaters.
Much like Obama’s failed promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay in one year, his pledge to end supplemental war spending bills, which further exacerbate the budget deficit and national debt, has been broken.
When it comes to war policy, it would appear that Obama’s record spending, preservation of the status quo on civil liberties, and expansion of the War on Terror into Pakistan and Yemen make it difficult to distinguish his platform from that of his much-maligned predecessor.