National / International News

How the U.S. pays for its involvement in Iraq

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-17 02:00

The Obama Administration says 275 troops are deploying to Iraq to protect the U.S. Embassy and other interests. We don’t yet know the full cost of any U.S. action in Iraq, but we can lift the curtain a bit on the economics behind military intervention, and what the Pentagon gets for its half trillion dollar baseline budget.

What’s included and what’s not?

Let’s start with the USS George H.W. Bush. That’s the aircraft carrier that sped to the *Persian Gulf this weekend (other ships are joining too).

Is the Bush covered in the defense budget?

“On any given day, we have about three aircraft carriers floating about the world in order to respond to crises,” says Janine Davidson, senior fellow for defense policy with the Council on Foreign Relations. “That money is already paid for. It’s the operational account for what we would call posturing our military forces abroad.”

Todd Harrison, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, says the U.S. routinely rotates carriers.

“But if you actually take it a step further,” he says, “and you start conducting things like air strikes, then that picks up the pace of operations of the aircraft operating off the aircraft carrier, which is an additional cost. And then you’ve got the cost of munitions that are expended – you know, bombs and missiles and the like.”

But here’s the thing about bombs and Tomahawk missiles: You don’t have to pay for them when you use them. Payment comes later, to replenish them. That provides flexibility.

Mackenzie Eaglen, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, says President Obama would rather fund operations like no-fly zones by moving money around than asking Congress for more.

“That’s what we saw happen in Libya, when there was a multi-month no-fly zone which the US participated in and the Pentagon paid for that out of hide,” she says.

That operation cost about a billion dollars.

Todd Harrison says the costs of intelligence sharing, air support, and limited air strikes are probably small enough for the regular defense budget to absorb. He says the big potential cost for the Department of Defense is troops on the ground.

“So when you start putting in 10,000, 20,000 troops, that’s when DOD would need to request supplemental funding to pay for those operations,” he says.

Those are the kinds of numbers last seen from the US for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So far, the force committed this time around is much, much smaller.

*NOTE: An earlier version of this story used the term Arabian Gulf, which is used by the military, to describe the Persian Gulf.

Murder arrests over burned woman, 86

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 01:49
Two men are arrested on suspicion of murdering an 86-year-old widow whose body was found stabbed and burned in her Cambridgeshire home.

Colombia leader 'has peace mandate'

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 01:46
Following his re-election, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tells the BBC that voters want him to continue peace talks with the Farc rebels.

VIDEO: A new look for Speakers' Corner

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 01:31
A look around a revamped Speakers' Corner, the spot in London's Hyde Park considered the home of free speech.

Is this Generation Right?

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 01:29
Are young people more right-wing than their parents were?

Crusaders 7-38 England

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 01:25
England's second string give the 1st XV a boost ahead of Saturday's third Test as they beat the Crusaders comfortably.

VIDEO: Flood victim: Put money where mouth is

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 01:23
A resident whose home was flooded this winter says the government must listen to a report that says the government got its funding priorities wrong on river maintenance

AUDIO: 'Wrong' Phil Neville gets fan abuse

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 01:21
A radiator salesman called Phil Neville has received hundreds of abusive tweets intended for his footballer namesake.

Police call sparks cannabis find

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 01:11
A man is arrested after police respond to an accidental emergency call in Crewe and discover a cannabis farm.

'Diseased meat could go undetected'

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 01:02
More diseased meat could end up in sausages and pies because of changes to rules governing safety checks, say hygiene inspectors.

VIDEO: Smartphone creates virtual reality

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 00:49
How a smartphone can help provide a low-cost alternative to high-end virtual reality devices.

Tensions Still High In 'Nevada Land' Over Cattle Dispute

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-17 00:42

Many of Cliven Bundy's supporters are gone, but the rancher is as defiant as ever since an armed standoff with the U.S. government. For now, it feels like each side is waiting for the other to blink.

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In Yabbies And Cappuccino, A Culinary Lifeline For Aboriginal Youth

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-17 00:41

Australia has a long, dark history of racial discrimination against the Aborigines. A cooking and hospitality program tries to help youth discover their culture and build confidence and competence.

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Eccentric Heiress's Untouched Treasures Head For The Auction Block

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-17 00:40

Huguette Clark secretly spent her last 20 years in a hospital, even though she wasn't ill — all while her three New York apartments were filled with valuable antiques.

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Pipe bomb explodes near homes

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-17 00:20
A pipe bomb partially explodes in a residential area of Holywood, County Down.

Welsh pupils 'behind UK in English'

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-16 23:55
Pupils in Wales continue to lag behind the rest of the UK in English lessons despite recent improvements, say school inspectors.

Scots and English 'willing to share'

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-16 23:53
People across the UK appear willing to continue sharing institutions after Scottish independence, according to the British Social Attitudes survey.

Morgan condition upgraded to 'fair'

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-16 23:48
US comedian Tracy Morgan's condition in hospital has been "upgraded" to "fair" after he was badly injured in a motorway crash, his spokesman says.

Concern over M4 relief road options

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-16 23:28
Concerns are raised that an alternative route for a planned £1bn M4 relief road around Newport has not been properly considered.

Farrell out of third New Zealand Test

BBC - Mon, 2014-06-16 23:22
England fly-half Owen Farrell suffers a knee injury that rules him out of his side's third Test against New Zealand.
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