Obama will not address details of cost in his Afghanistan speech

A White House aide said President Obama does not plan during Tuesday night’s speech to delve into the specifics of paying for the Afghanistan war.


A top White House aide said President Barack Obama does not plan to delve into the specifics of paying for the war in Afghanistan during Tuesday night’s speech unveiling U.S. strategy for the region.

With reports circulating that Obama has already ordered at least another 30,000 troops to the country, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that Obama will "certainly touch on the cost" of the war during his address to the nation, but he said he does not "expect [Obama] to get overly detailed."

The debate among Democrats on Capitol Hill is raging over how to pay for the increase in troops and how to budget it, but Gibbs said he did not expect Obama to weigh in on that in his address from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

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"I think you'll hear the president acknowledge the resource requirements and the responsibilities and the tradeoffs that are going to have to be discussed both here and, more importantly, on Capitol Hill, as they control the purse strings," Gibbs said.

But Gibbs said there has not been "extensive discussion" at the White House of the congressionally proposed war tax.

He said "those discussions, one the president has a policy and can put a price tag on, I think you'll see those more in earnest."

Gibbs said Obama would not likely discuss specific costs, but he did say that "rough math that we've used before is applicable."

"For 10,000 troops, it's $10 billion," Gibbs said. "That's the rough estimate of what I think people have been using both here and at the Pentagon."

He added the president "will talk about and allude to the cost."

"I don't know if it gets down to the granularity of the exact dollar amount for each and everything," Gibbs said. "I think some of that will — quite frankly, some of that's going to depend on decisions that ultimately are made — logistical decisions that are ultimately made."