At yesterday’s press briefing, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld criticized Congress for not adequately funding Iraqi security forces:
In addition, cuts and delays in providing funds for the Iraqi security forces will delay what has been truly significant progress in turning over greater responsibility and territory to Iraq’s army and police. A slowdown in training and equipping the Iraqi security forces will have unacceptable harmful effects of postponing the day when our men and women in uniform can return home with the honor and appreciation they deserve.
Rumsfeld is right to say we need to effectively train Iraqi security forces; the quicker we do so, the quicker our troops can come home. But he forgets that under his watch, the Pentagon has not spent the the money Congress already appropriated for this purpose. From an AP report last month:
The U.S. military has spent just 40 percent of the $7 billion appropriated in 2005 for the training of Iraqi and Afghanistan security forces, a top Pentagon priority that is lynchpin for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
Rumsfeld should stop blaming Congress and concentrate on effectively managing the taxpayer funding he’s been given.