We have been told that the war in Iraq is over, and were even shown metaphorical photographs of the last U.S. troops leaving Iraq with backpacks. However, Pentagon is asking nearly $3 billion for a war which it isn't even waging.
Pentagon's latest budget request (pdf) asks for $2.9 billion for what it calls Post-Operation NEW DAWN (OND)/Iraq Activities, even though there are technically no U.S. troops left in Iraq.
The resource request doesn't provide a clear explanation of further spending in Iraq, which supposedly is for finalizing transition, and to execute a responsible drawdown of the U.S. military presence in Iraq. The Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I), the Pentagon unit which is still operating in Iraq, will get the new funding to continue security assistance and security cooperation in addressing concerns we share with Iraq, such as counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, maritime security, and air defense.
The U.S. commitment to Iraq is both strong and enduring, and continued strategic engagement is critical, the budget request said. The request includes operational costs for the OSC-I and amounts for the reset of equipment redeploying from Iraq and the theater of operations.
The Department of Defense (DoD) said that a good portion of the new funds would be utilized for the operation of the OSC-I, which is key to achieve the long-term U.S. goal of building partnership capacity in the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).
Pentagon will also fund the expenses involved in U.S.-Iraq joint exercise planning, combined arms training, conflict resolution, multilateral peace operations, senior level visits and other forms of bilateral engagement.
In reality, despite the DoD rhetoric employed in the budget request, it wants to sell more weapons to Iraq government, according to a Wired.com report. The DoD has already struck a sale of 18 F-16 fighters worth $835 million to Iraq's Air Force, who are interested in more arms deals.