A much-delayed Iraq war funding bill sailed through the House on Thursday, along with a doubling of college aid for returning troops and help for the unemployed and Midwestern flood victims.That's my favorite line of the entire story.
Republican allies of President Bush provided the winning margin in a 268-155 vote to provide $162 billion to fund U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan well into next year.
Democrats opposed to the war, however, succeeded in using the Iraq funding bill as an engine to drive past White House resistance a sweeping revision to GI Bill college benefits and a 13-week extension of unemployment checks for those whose benefits have run out.
The bill would bring to more than $650 billion the amount provided by Congress for the war in Iraq since it started five years ago. Nearly $200 billion in additional funding has gone to operations in Afghanistan, according to congressional analysts.
It also would give Bush's successor several months to set Iraq policy after taking office in January — and spares lawmakers the need to cast more war funding votes closer to Election Day.
Meanwhile, the death toll among both civilians and military continues to rise. In the past month, these Americans have died while carrying out George Bush's War:
Specialist Justin R. Mixon
Specialist Christopher D. McCarthy
Specialist Quincy J. Green
Private 1st Class Joshua E. Waltenbaugh
Sergeant Shane P. Duffy
Specialist Jonathan D. A. Emard
Sergeant Cody R. Legg
Sergeant 1st Class David R. Hurst
Staff Sergeant Tyler E. Pickett
Specialist Thomas F. Duncan III
Sergeant Steve A. McCoy
Sergeant 1st Class Gerard M. Reed
Lance Corporal Javier Perales Jr.
Lance Corporal Kelly E. C. Watters
Private Eugene D. M. Kanakaole
Sergeant John D. Aragon
Private 1st Class Jason Cox
Please click on their names to read more about them. The "US Deaths in Iraq" counter at the top of the page reads 4, 101. These are real people, not just a statistic. Please, never forget that.
And that photo at the top? That's Lance Corporal Kelly Watters, who died on June 11. He was 19 years old.