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President Bush Asks for $75 Billion for War Budget - 2003-03-25

The weather has gotten much worse, so Coalition forces are battling deteriorating weather conditions. This is hampering the coalition advance toward the Iraqi capital. Meanwhile, in the U.S. capital, Washington,D.C., President Bush is following developments closely on the war front as he announces funding levels for this war commitment. The President is asking Congress for a nearly 75-billion dollar war budget.

Amy Katz has this report.

Coalition forces battled a howling sandstorm in Iraq Tuesday, forcing ground troops to temporarily halt their advance toward Baghdad. The storms reduced visibility to just a few meters, making it difficult for military vehicles and helicopters to get around safely. But, U.S. and British warplanes are able to fly above the dust and sand, and continue to bomb Iraqi targets.

At the same time President Bush was launching his campaign to convince Congress to authorize money to fund the war. During a visit to the Pentagon, he unveiled a 74.7 billion dollar supplemental budget request. Mr. Bush reminded Congress the situation in war is fluid, and he asked for flexibility in allocating the funds.

“The need is urgent. The wartime supplemental is directly related to winning this war and to securing the peace that will follow this war. I ask Congress to act quickly and responsibly.”

Eighty percent of the additional funding would go directly to the war effort. The rest is for relief and reconstruction in Iraq, as well as helping U.S. allies impacted by the war and increased domestic security.

Meanwhile, in Iraq Tuesday, residents were out in the markets and on the streets, after another night of heavy air attacks.

Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said if American troops invade Iraqi territory they will be greeted not with flowers, but with bullets, and he denied speculation that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is either wounded or does not have the ability to direct his military.

“Saddam Hussein is in full control of this country, he is full control of his armed forces, of the Iraqi people, of all the Iraqi resources.”

Elsewhere in Iraq, in a small village about 100 kilometers south of Baghdad, the damage was evident, from what residents said were U.S. missile attacks overnight.

In Southern Iraq, British forces patrolling the Rumeila oil fields discovered numerous landmines and booby traps, which they say pose a serious threat to civilians in the area.

The British forces there also stood guard over hundreds of weapons seized from Iraqi troops and found on the battlefield.