War supporters greet Sheehan at Chicago speech
February 16, 2006 (WLS) -- President Bush wants more money to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is asking Congress for another $65 billion. The news comes as supporters and critics of the wars clashed in Chicago Thursday night. Among the critics was Cindy Sheehan.
Sheehan has become the national face of the grieving parent and has expressed her opposition to the war around the country. It has been a costly war in money and in lives. So far, nearly 2,300 US soldiers have been killed and it is costing the government an estimated $7 billion a month to fight the war in Iraq.
"The only way to support our troops is to get them out of this nightmare in Iraq," said Sheehan.
Cindy Sheehan spoke Thursday night at St. Xavier University. Her 21-year-old son Casey was killed in Iraq after being there only five days. Some in the audience held pictures of their loved ones also killed in the war.
Several times during her speech Sheehan was interrupted by demonstrators.
Sheehan has been outspoken against the war and has staged several war protests including her most recent at the president's state of the union address.
"If we want our young people to sign up for the military, then we need to make sure that we give them leadership that will only use them responsibly," said Sheehan.
Supporters of the war staged their own demonstration outside of Shannon Hall. They sang "God Bless America."
"We believe in the men and women of our troops. We back our troops 100 percent," said one war supporter.
"Freedom doesn't come free," said one pro-war protestor. "You pay a price."
The price of the war will likely go up. Thursday, the Bush administration asked Congress for $65 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's $2 billion more than expected. This brings the total amount requested for this year to $110 billion.
This supplement would bring the cost of the war thus far to $400 billion. The administration's original estimate in 2002 by the White House economic advisor was $100 to $200 billion.
Some lawmakers want to know where this will end.
"The president has a responsibility he as to tell us the true cost of this war," said Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.
The money from this supplemental is expected to keep operations ongoing only for the next eight next month. The White House has already said an additional $50 billion for the war in Iraq will likely be requested later this year. Congress will likely vote on this request next month, but lawmakers are grumbling about funds for repairs on the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters.
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