Congress Investigates Fraud and Waste in War Spending

by Brian Mooar

NBC News

Next week marks the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war and President Bush is getting ready for another fight.

Democrats can't force him to pull out troops, but they appear determined to make it harder for him to continue paying for the war.

With the nation's economic woes on the front page it's getting harder for the President to keep Iraq on the front burner.
President Bush said, "For the sake of the security, and for the sake of peace, the sake of generations of kids coming up the United States will help the Iraqis succeed!"

But with the economy in crisis, fuel prices at a record high, and job losses spiking his calls for billions of dollars to continue the war effort face a battle on Capitol Hill.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont said, "It's time for Congress to have a strong hand on this spigot."

The war's cost is now threatening to top a trillion dollars and government auditors concede waste and fraud have been rampant.

U.S. Comptroller General David Walker said, "We're seeing improvement, but we've still got a long way to go."

Lawmakers want to know why the oil-rich Iraqis aren't paying more of the tab.

"We've just shoveled money out the door," said Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota.

General David Petraeus reports to Congress next month on whether the American troop surge is working.

He tells NBC news it is.

"There's no question but there has been security progress, and in that respect, there's no question, I think, that the surge has worked," said Petraeus.

But progress is relative.

There are still 400 attacks a week, 1,000 civilian deaths a month and continuing U.S. Military casualties.

Still, thousands of one-time insurgents have switched sides finding bombs instead of planting them and on the U.S. payroll for now.