Bush Seeks Funds for Allies' Facilities

President Bush's (search) $81.9 billion request for war and aid to U.S. allies would help start a law school in Afghanistan, improve the issuance of driver's licenses in Ukraine (search) and build water treatment facilities in Jordan, according to administration documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Bush is also proposing to build seven provincial hospitals and up to 210 health clinics in Afghanistan (search), help construct primary schools and border towers in Jordan and provide financing to the Palestinians for home construction, the papers show.

In contrast to materials the administration distributed in 2003 describing how $18.4 billion in reconstruction money for Iraq would be spent, the documents obtained Wednesday provide little detail.

Then, the specifics of Iraqi rebuilding — which included exact amounts for each proposal — touched off widespread criticism in Congress over the planned purchase of items such as garbage trucks. At the time, lawmakers complained many programs at home were being cut.

Congress is only beginning to consider Bush's 2006 budget, released last week, which proposes cutting many domestic programs. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said Wednesday that while Congress would try to work quickly on Bush's war request, it might not include all the foreign aid he wanted.

At the very least, the new papers underscore how sharply Bush's foreign aid plans have changed since he initially ran for office in 2000 and expressed disdain for the concept of nation building. The expenditures described in the new documents read like a blueprint of nation building for a range of allies.

"How we've had to budget our resources in the post-9/11 era is different than how we envisioned it pre-9/11," said White House budget office spokesman Chad Kolton, referring to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The documents obtained Wednesday describe $4 billion in proposed spending for American allies, including $700 million of the $950 million Bush proposed to help Indian Ocean countries swamped by the December tsunami.

Of the bill's total, Bush requested $74.9 billion for the Defense Department, mostly for its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It includes $6 billion for intelligence operations.

Of the $4 billion in foreign aid the documents describe, half would go to Afghanistan. That includes $68 million to build 65 schools and seven technical training centers and provide vocational training, women's teaching training and scholarships abroad.

There would also be $285 million to train Afghan police, including providing 532 "embedded" advisers, 34 driving practice ranges and literacy training. Salaries of 62,000 police officers would cost $40 million, while another $74 million would be spent to buy gear, including 6,000 vehicles, four helicopters and fingerprinting equipment.

Other Afghanistan expenditures would include $300 million for the country's electrical system; $82 million for water and farm projects; $66 million to develop private businesses; and $85 million for creating legal and electoral systems.

The papers call the illegal narcotics production in Afghanistan "so serious that it threatens to undermine all of the progress that has been made towards restoring stability and democracy."

"We need to expand and accelerate reconstruction and security to ensure democracy there does not fail," the documents say.

The $200 million for economic and military aid for Jordan would include unspecified funds for school construction, job training, night vision equipment and other gear for border guards

Ukraine, where free elections were held a month ago, would get $60 million that the papers say would be largely aimed at helping President Viktor Yushchenko solidify his victory there so his party can win a parliamentary majority in the scheduled March 2006 elections.

Of that, $19 million would be to improve Ukraine's judicial system and improve the government's image at home. That includes unspecified funds for a "transparent and efficient provision of passports and driver's licenses, which will have an immediate impact on the average citizen," the documents said.

That country would also get $5.5 million for nuclear power safety, $4.5 million to combat AIDS, and unspecified sums for improved coal mine safety, land titling and local news organizations.

The $200 million for Palestinians would include money for promoting trade, boosting agriculture, building schools and community centers, instituting democratic reforms and providing social services.

There is also $27 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development for security and audits in Iraq.