Lest we forget Columbia.
WASHINGTON– The number of U.S. troops in Colombia will double to 800 under new legislation aimed at ratcheting up the fight against guerrillas and criminals financing themselves through drug trafficking, kidnapping and extortion. The number of American civilian contractors paid out of U.S. funds also would rise to a maximum of 600 from the current limit of 400. The increases were approved as part of the fiscal year 2005 defense authorization bill passed by lawmakers in an unusual Saturday session. Some lawmakers have said they are worried that piece-by-piece increases in assistance there could draw the United States into a quagmire like Vietnam. The United States is funding a $3.3 billion, five-year military aid package known as Plan Colombia, under which Colombian forces receive training, equipment and intelligence to root out drug traffickers and fumigate coca crops.
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