I'm listening to the committee meeting on the ~1.5 billion in unexpected funding needed by the Veteran's Administration for medical care. You should, in part, blame my former bosses at the Boston Development Center(now Allocation Resource Center) in Braintree, Mass. They had spent 60-120K on a peice of software to help them draft their budgets. It went through the millions of lines of database records they had and produced an annual report on overall usage of the VA hospital system. In my spare time, in a few weeks, I rewrote the whole thing and added tons of functionality. My version allowed looking at subsets of the hospital system, and months, or quarters, instead of the whole year. I was fired soon after I showed it to them. Interestingly, the program they had paid for only ever worked once (for one year), and we were three months behind producing the 2nd report the day I was hired, and I never heard about it until almost three months later.
CONCLUSION? No one missed any health care service, and only a portion of the 1.5 billion is associated with Iraq. Sadly, the cost of prosthetics made available to veterans through the health agency will increased, from 05 to 06, from 900,000,000 to 1,200,000,000, an increase of 33%.
I'm also reading this report from Human Rights Watch, DRC: The Curse of Gold.
CONCLUSION? The Second Congo War was, in large degree, ignored by the US media. It pitted the Lake Victoria bordering Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi vs the Congo-Kinshasa government, Namibia, Angola and Zimbabwe. Uganda, Rwanada and Zimbabwe were all, it seems, involved in illegally funding their armies via local Congolese gold. Now, things are less international in scope, and much gold from the northeast of the Congo leaves into Uganda, where it is laundered into the global gold market.