Remember that place Afghanistan

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Remember that place Afghanistan? You know, we had some guys over there. And they wear funny hats and, like, Osama bin Laden had a vacation home there or something …

This would seem rather to sum up how much the folks at the Bush White House remember about the place. Apparently when the budgeteers on the Hill started working their way through the president’s new budget they discovered there was no money, not even a line item, for humanitarian or reconstruction funds for Afghanistan. Remember, that was the place we weren’t going to leave behind and so forth.

Now at first I thought maybe this was a case where the money is in there but just not labeled as being for Afghanistan or something like that. But that really doesn’t seem to be the case. Congress has had to go back and stick in $300 million. According to this report from the BBC …

The chairman of the committee that distributes foreign aid, Jim Kolbe, says that when he asked administration officials why they had not requested any funds, he was given no satisfactory explanation, but did get a pledge that it would not happen again.

Jim Kolbe is a Republican, or course. So it’s really not clear to me what interest he would have in making the folks at the White House sound like such goofs. I think you have to figure that it’s as big a screw-up as it looks like.

The BBC report also says that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is going to be in town this month looking for aid. We’ll see how he manages. What’s really telling isn’t the lack of money so much as the fact that Karzai and his people didn’t even get a mention. They didn’t even merit the standard smoke and mirrors treatment! The ultimate indignity …

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