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Iraq war spending at $5,500 per second
Scripps Howard News Service


March 25, 2007
Sunday AM

WASHINGTON -- The $100 billion Congress authorized to pay for the continuing war in Iraq translates into $5,500 per second through Sept. 30, and could purchase 111 Queen Mary 2 cruise ships at $900 million a piece.



"This war is a grotesque mistake," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in bringing the debate to a close Friday afternoon. Earlier, Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, received sustained applause when he said, "Frankly we all want our troops home - when the job is done."

Congress voted 218-212 to authorize spending $100 billion for the war effort and another $24 billion for various "sweeteners," including agricultural subsidies and hurricane relief. The bill sets September 2008 as a date to bring the troops home, a provision President Bush cited in his promise to veto the measure should it reach his desk.

To put the appropriation in perspective, the $100 billion Congress agreed to spend on the Iraq war through Sept. 30 is equivalent to:

- $331.73 for each of the 301,443,094 residents of the U.S.

- 4.6 million times the $21,587 per capita income of the U.S.

- 2.07 million Mercedes Benz SLK350 Roadster automobiles.

The vote came after floor debates that began on Thursday.

"Setting a date certain for withdrawing from Iraq is a dangerous idea," said Rep. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. "Our enemies will simply adjust their tactics and wait us out. The consequences of such a withdrawal will be far-reaching. It would signal defeat for the United States and embolden terrorists in Iraq and around the world; it would enable al Qaeda to establish a beachhead in Iraq from which to operate; and it would be a catastrophe for the people of Iraq and the region."

Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn., said it will send a message to the Iraqi government that it has to be more effective.

"We have lost more than 3,200 of our best men and women over the last four years and four days we have been in Iraq, and more than 24,000 others have come home wounded," said Tanner. "We are spending about $200,000 a minute in Iraq. The Iraqi people need to know that we will not continue to do all the work if they are unable or unwilling to put aside their religious differences and come together to build a civil society."


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