THE BLOG
11/14/2014 03:35 pm ET Updated Jan 14, 2015

$5 Billion for Iraq-Syria War? Three Reasons to Oppose

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The Pentagon has requested $5 billion in funding from Congress to extend the three month old war in Iraq and Syria. Here are three reasons to oppose the Pentagon's request.

1. You're against the war. Then it's a slam dunk, right? If you're against the war, you should oppose funding it. Go here.

2. You don't oppose the war, but you believe in the U.S. Constitution, the War Powers Resolution, and Schoolhouse Rock democracy, so you figure that Congress should debate and vote on approving a new war before funding it. Go here.

Three months have passed since the war started in early August, but Congress still has not debated and voted on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force [AUMF]. Before Congress appropriates money for the war, it should debate and vote on an AUMF, as Democratic Senator Tim Kaine has been agitating for.

Do your representatives in Congress agree with President Obama that U.S. ground troops should not be committed to combat? Or do they agree with Buck McKeon, the Republican chair of the House Armed Services Committee, who says that U.S. "boots on the ground" are necessary?

Do your representatives in Congress agree with President Obama that the use of U.S. military force should be limited to confronting ISIS and Al Qaeda? Or do they agree with the President's critics who demand that the U.S. military attack the military forces of the Syrian government?

Before our representatives in Congress agree to provide $5 billion for more war, shouldn't they have to tell us which war they support?

3. You don't oppose the war, and the U.S. Constitution, the War Powers Resolution, and Schoolhouse Rock democracy make you no nevermind, but like Taxpayers for Common Sense, you figure that the Pentagon probably already has $5 billion it can use if it turns out its pockets and moves the pillows on the couch. Go here.

The annual "base" budget of the Pentagon is half a trillion dollars. That's the money that the Pentagon gets if it fights no wars. That's the money that they get if they're just "marching up and down the square," like in the Monty Python skit. When they were asked to fight actual wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, they got a separate budget for that, which is not subject to the budget caps that the rest of the government is, including the Pentagon. That's called the "Overseas and Contingency Operations" [OCO] account. The $5 billion request is on top of that. It's on top of the money that they get for marching up and down the square, and it's on top of the money that they get for actually fighting wars. It's a war supplemental to the war supplemental.

If you think that the Pentagon should look harder in the couch, go here.