2.5 billion impeachable offenses

The Congressional Research Service has issued a report on U.S. spending on the Iraq, saying it will soon reach $320 billion. As a Washington Post story notes, this includes “$2.5 billion diverted from other spending authorizations in 2001 and 2002 to prepare for the invasion.”

$2.5 billion. That’s even more than the $700 million Bob Woodward reported in Plan of Attack:

On July 17 [2002], [Tommy] Franks updated Rumfeld on the preparatory tasks in the region. He carefully listed the cost of each and the risk to the mission if they didn’t proceed along the timeline which set completion by December 1. Total cost: about $700 million.

The big-muscle movement was for airfields and fuel infrastructure in Kuwait where a massive covert public works program had already been launched…

Some of the funding would come from the supplemental appropriations bill then being worked out in Congress for the Afghanistan war and the general war on terrorism. The rest would come from old appropriations.

By the end of July, Bush had approved some 30 projects that would eventually cost $700 million. He discussed it with Nicholas E. Calio, the head of White House congressional relations. Congress, which is supposed to control the purse strings, had no real knowledge or involvement, had not even been notified that the Pentagon wanted to reprogram money.

Now, here’s Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution:

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.

So, back in olden times when we still cared what the Constitution said, Bush could clearly be impeached for this. Thank goodness those days are behind us. Kudos also to the Washington Post for demonstrating this by putting the reference to it in the second-to-last paragraph in an A16 story.