Administration officials said President Bush's emergency spending request which would push the U.S. budget deficit above the half-trillion-dollar mark for the first time still left a reconstruction funding gap of as much as $55 billion.
'It is fair to say that the level of decay and underinvestment in the Iraqi infrastructure was worse than almost anybody on the outside anticipated,' said one senior administration official. 'We were all surprised,' said another.
The revised estimates underscored the political challenge facing the president, who asked Americans on Sunday evening to prepare themselves for a longer and costlier engagement in Iraq, and members of Congress, who are being asked to more than double the financial commitment of U.S. taxpayers.
Was any Iraq estimate by the war party accurate or truthful?