The big argument about war funding is always that we cannot abandon the troops. Absolutely, there isn’t a soul I know that wants to see the troops stranded. Unfortunately they have been stranded in Iraq from the very beginning and this breakdown of the latest budget request spells it out.

You could argue, of course, that all these contracting dollars represent the most efficient way to get our troops the equipment they need to operate safely and effectively in a war zone – but you would be wrong. Much of that money is being wasted every week on the wrong kinds of equipment at exorbitant prices. And even when it is the right kind of equipment, there are often startling delays in getting it to the battlefield, as was the case with advanced armored vehicles for the US Marine Corps.

But before we get to equipment costs, let’s take a look at a week’s worth of another kind of support. The Pentagon and the State Department don’t make a big point – or really any kind of point – out of telling us how much we’re spending on gun-toting private-contract employees from companies like Blackwater and Triple Canopy, our “shadow army” in Iraq, but we can make an educated guess.

It is hard to imagine that the administration is not deliberately doing everything it can to expatriate American tax dollars while the dollar is still worth ‘something’. Privatized armies and contract services are billing the American taxpayer in the neighborhood of $500M per week.