This just in: Iraq victory celebration on hold
By Lee Russ
Wednesday, October 04, 2006 at 04:06 PM
Since neither lunacy nor hype know any bounds, it seems that our esteemed congress actually tucked away a provision in a spending bill for $20 million for our ultimate celebration of our successful campaigns in Iraq & Afghanistan.Emphasis added:
GOP set up fund for Iraq victory fete
New York Times
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
(10-04) 04:00 PDT Washington -- Even as the Bush administration urges Americans to stay the course in Iraq, Republicans in Congress have put down a quiet marker in the apparent hope that V-I Day might be only months away.
Tucked away in fine print in the military spending bill for this past year was a lump sum of $20 million to pay for a celebration in the nation's capital "for commemoration of success" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Not surprisingly, the money was not spent.
Now congressional Republicans are saying, in effect, maybe next year.
A paragraph written into spending legislation and approved by the Senate and House allows the $20 million to be rolled over into 2007.
The original legislation empowered the president to designate "a day of celebration" to commemorate the success of the armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to "issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies and activities."
The celebration would honor the soldiers, sailors, air crews and Marines who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it would be held in Washington, with the $20 million to cover the costs of military participation.
Democrats on Capitol Hill called attention to the measure, an act that Republicans would probably portray as an attempt to embarrass them five weeks before the midterm election. The Democrats said the original language and the one-year extension were both pushed by Senate Republicans. A spokesman for the Republican-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee said it is protocol not to identify sponsors of such specific legislation, unless they chose to name themselves.
The overall legislation was approved in the Senate by unanimous consent and overwhelmingly in the House after a short debate.
Lt. Col. Brian Maka, a Pentagon spokesman, said late Tuesday that the event was envisioned not so much as a celebration of victory but more as an opportunity for "honoring returning U.S. forces at the conclusion" of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"not so much of a celebration" indeed.