State’s wants a piece of the budgetary pie. Richard Lardner of AP, writes:
The State Department’s request for $1.5 billion to protect U.S. diplomats and a growing number of reconstruction teams on the ground is a pricey reminder that the war-torn country remains a dangerous place.
…Over $500 million of the proposed 2008 spending would go to three private security firms [Blackwater, Triple Canopy, and DynCorp]…
The Baghdad security money also will pay for armored vehicles, bulletproof vests, ammunition, X-ray machines, bomb-sniffing dogs, barriers to prevent attacks by suicide bombers, and overhead shields to deflect mortar attacks, according to an Oct. 22 budget document sent to Congress.
And, now time to be impressed with a Congressman, er, -woman:
Rep. Nita Lowey said lawmakers won’t let U.S. diplomats go unprotected. But before the fiscal year 2008 request can be approved, the State Department must prove "it is capable of overseeing the actions of private security contractors and preventing the misuse of American taxpayers’ money in Iraq," she said.
Yes, as the Iraq Study Group noted, obfuscating funding for the war has permitted wasteful spending (and a waste of time, as well as increased risks to and deaths of our warfighters and civilian personnel, not to mention Iraqi civilians).