Pay Now, War Later

The Congressional Research Service on Bush’s war spending

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Every junior high civics student hears that Congress holds “the power of the purse,” but it turns out this is just another constitutional stop sign the Bush administration has blown past without even slowing down. Bob Woodward first reported in his book Plan of Attack that in the summer of 2002 President Bush took $700 million from funds appropriated for other military uses, including the war in Afghanistan, and spent it on preparations to invade Iraq. Now the Congressional Research Service has issued a report demonstrating that Woodward got it wrong—it wasn’t $700 million the administration disbursed without authorization, but $2.5 billion. The report notes mournfully that Congress “could not obtain details on this spending.”

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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