Source AP ©

US President needs 46 billion dollars to fund wars

George W. Bush is going to ask U.S. lawgivers for $46 billion (Ђ32.47 billion) to finance the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and other security needs.

The figure, which Bush was expected to announce later Monday at the White House, brings to $196.4 billion (Ђ138.64 billion) the total requested by the administration for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere for the budget year that started Oct. 1. It includes $189.3 billion (Ђ133.63 billion) for the Defense Department, $6.9 billion (Ђ4.87 billion) for the State Department and $200 million (Ђ141.18 million) for other agencies.

The figures were disclosed by congressional officials briefed on the request this morning and who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made.

The Iraq war, now in its fifth year, already has cost more than $455 billion (Ђ321.19 billion), with stepped-up military operations running about $12 billion (Ђ8.47 billion) a month. The war has claimed the lives of more than 3,830 members of the U.S. military and more than 73,000 Iraqi civilians.

The White House originally asked for $141.7 billion (Ђ100.03 billion) for the Pentagon to prosecute the Iraq and Afghanistan missions. The latest request includes $42.3 billion (Ђ29.86 billion) more for the Pentagon already revealed in summary last month and is accompanied by a modified State Department request bringing that agency's total for the 2008 budget year to almost $7 billion (Ђ4.94 billion).

The State Department is requesting $550 million (Ђ388.25 million) to combat drug trafficking in Mexico and Central America, $375 million (Ђ264.72 million) for the West Bank and Gaza and $239 million (Ђ168.71 million) for diplomatic costs in Iraq.

Top House of Representatives lawmakers have already announced that they do not plan to act on Bush's request until next year, though they anticipate providing interim funds when completing a separate defense funding bill this fall.

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