Although the last of the U.S. troops in Iraq have come home, the Pentagon still wants nearly 3 billion dollars for "activities" there.
Wired's Danger Room explains:
To be specific, the Pentagon’s brand-new budget request asks for $2.9 billion for what it calls “Post-Operation NEW DAWN (OND)/Iraq Activities.” That’s almost as much money as the Pentagon spends on Darpa, its mad-science arm. And there are practically no U.S. troops in Iraq. [...]
And that won’t be all the cash going to Iraq. Contained within the classified “black” budget is sure to be money for special operations forces to hunt Iraq’s remaining terrorists on a case-by-case basis. And chances are, the CIA is spending money in Iraq, too.
Aside from that, the U.S. military has turned over operations in Iraq to the State Department, which in turn has hired an army of private security contractors the size of a heavy combat brigade. State has blocked congressional oversight into how its contractors will operate in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal. But it’s clear that the diplomats are also buying themselves an air force — since Dec. 17, 2011 marked the first day in 20 years that the U.S. Air Force received no orders for operations in or over Iraq.
But as the death toll stands at over 4,000 US casualties after nearly eight years overseas, it is clear by the latest cash request that the US, as many had expected but had not hoped, is not ready to just walk away just yet.
On the bright side, it might be easier to foot the cost of this make-believe war than you would think. Suspiciously, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction announced in January that upwards of $2 billion that the US was holding onto for Iraq had mysteriously disappeared.