Pentagon errs in Iraq sniper numbers

Oct. 30, 2007 at 8:16 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A Pentagon request for extra funding to combat growing sniper attacks in Iraq was wrong, as such attacks are decreasing, USA Today reported Tuesday.

Last week, the military sent a $42 billion supplemental budget request to Congress, part of which was $1.4 billion to combat the growing threat of sniper attacks.

However, the newspaper reviewed data from the Multi-National Force-Iraq headquarters in Iraq and found there were 386 sniper attacks on coalition forces in 2006, compared with 269 attacks this year through Oct. 26.

When the figures were shown to Dave Patterson, deputy undersecretary of Defense, he said the entire supplemental budget would be reviewed.

"The term quadrupled will be removed from the justification because it is simply incorrect," Patterson said. "We don't want to misrepresent anything."

Regardless, Michael O'Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution, told the newspaper Congress was likely to approve the request.

"Nobody will begrudge them spending on a real threat -- but we also need to avoid rubber-stamp syndrome where any expense is OK," O'Hanlon said.

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