concerns me a great deal – if it is true. And it is “cutting and running.”
The Bush administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction in the budget request going before Congress in February, officials say. The decision signals the winding down of an $18.4 billion U.S. rebuilding effort in which roughly half of the money was eaten away by the insurgency, a buildup of Iraq's criminal justice system and the investigation and trial of Saddam Hussein.
Just under 20 percent of the reconstruction package remains unallocated. When the last of the $18.4 billion is spent, U.S. officials in Baghdad have made clear, other foreign donors and the fledgling Iraqi government will have to take up what authorities say is tens of billions of dollars of work yet to be done merely to bring reliable electricity, water and other services to Iraq's 26 million people.
I would like to put out a caveat before I comment further. I am skeptical on the veracity of the above information. But if the administration intent to end the reconstruction of Iraq, it is without an exaggeration to say that it is a personal betrayal to veterans like myself, and especially to those who gave their last measure of devotion.
I can forgive the administration for the numerous mistakes made prior to and during the war. At least those mistakes were made without malice. But this is unforgivable – a stab in the backs to all those who fought in Iraq. This administration asked many of us to leave our family behind to go to the awful place to bring democracy and freedom to a people we hardly knew. We did so without complaint. We did so with all the energy we possess. All we ask for is victory – not merely the defeat of the enemies – but the victory of human spirit, a free a prosperous Iraq.
Years after the veterans of the Great War returned home, they could look across the Atlantic and Pacific to see a new Europe and Asia rose from the ashes of World War Two and knew that the sacrifice that they made (and the ultimate sacrifices that their comrades made) was not in vain.
It is my wishes and dream that years from now, the very spots that American blood dropped in the sand, a new Iraq rose – proud, prosperous, and free. The President owe me and my comrades that much. The President needs to get serious about rebuilding Iraq.