Tuesday, September 09, 2003

President Bush's congressional request for $87 billion to pay for the war against terrorism includes hundreds of millions for lifesaving body armor and heavily armored Humvees to protect U.S. forces.

A senior administration official in Baghdad said $300 million will be spent on body armor designed to help GIs survive the sort of sniper fire that has claimed dozens of American lives in recent months.

"This is a better form than what we bought in the past," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "That's what we needed."

Another $140 million will be spent on what soldiers call "up-armored" Humvees, which can better withstand hits from mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

"This was an assessment made based on the situation on the ground," the official said.

The body armor and Humvees are part of the $66 billion that Mr. Bush has requested for military expenditures on Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries during the next year. In an address to the nation on Sunday, he also asked Congress for $21 billion in reconstruction funds, almost all of which would

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