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I attended the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on tuesday in which Wolfowitz testified, and he was indeed given a hard time from both Republican and Democratic senators, who are all getting pretty edgy about the US budget for next year because the deficit has ballooned right out. What they wanted to know was how much the administration is going to put aside for the rest of this year and next for the cost of the occupation of Iraq, which at the moment is running at $4 billion per month (or $50 billion per year). But Wolfowitz wouldn't even give a bottom line figure, which got alot of them irritated. They also wanted to know if the administration was seeking to internationalise the occupation by getting in foreign troops and contributions, even by agreeing to a further UN resolution that shares some of the responsibility as well as the burden. But Wolfowitz wouldn't be drawn on that either, and just said Colin Powell was talking about with the UNSC etc. Wolfowitz was also criticised for the claims about Iraq-Al Qaeda links, with even one Republican senator saying "I'm seeing alot of shifting arguments" for why the US is in Iraq. A Democratic senator also showed the hearing a publication put out by the Bush administration just after 9/11 which had a map of the world with all countries known to have an Al Qaeda presence coloured in red. Iraq was not coloured in. While it was gratifying to see Wolfowoitz get some heat, the motivation of the senators of the committee is primarily electoral. They don't want to have to go back to their constituencies and explain that they don't know how much occupying Iraq is going to cost, in terms of dollars and military fatalities, and how long US troops will be there. Because its not going so well, they're running scared as they sense a shift in American public opinion about what's going on in Iraq (which at the moment is still at the "qualm" stage, not outrage). I don't think many of these senators actually opposed the war, they still support it, but want the Bush administration to be more "transperent" about it-and to make it more electorally palatable by getting other countries to contribute troops to be shot at and and pay for some of the reconstruction. Nevertheless, the fact that the congressional Republicans were just as testy about the whole thing as the Democrats does show that the stark reality of the implications of invading Iraq are just beginning to be realised in Washington, and the finger is slowly being raised at the Bush administration for all the problems it is spawning. Peter Kiernan _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk