Obama: New Afghan approach has $30B cost

Dec. 1, 2009 at 8:50 PM
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WEST POINT, N.Y., Dec. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said his new approach in Afghanistan would cost $30 billion for the military this year, but did not say how it would be funded.

"I will work closely with Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down our deficit," Obama said Tuesday when outlining the strategy that includes an additional 30,000 troops to be deployed by next summer.

"Over the past several years, we have lost that balance, and failed to appreciate the connection between our national security and our economy," Obama said at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

In the face of the current economic crisis, "we simply cannot afford to ignore the price of these wars," he said. "All told, by the time I took office the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan approached a trillion dollars. Going forward, I am committed to addressing these costs openly and honestly."

While working to ending the war in Iraq and execute a transition in Afghanistan responsibly, "we must rebuild our strength here at home," Obama said. "Our prosperity provides a foundation for our power. It pays for our military. It underwrites our diplomacy. ... That is why our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended -- because the nation that I am most interested in building is our own."

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