Wednesday, August 6, 2008

$79 billion surplus ...

... in Iraq. That's the windfall the puppet regime in Baghdad can expect this year thanks to very high oil prices. But where is the money going? Not to rebuild the country's tattered infrastructure including roads, sewers and schools. These costs are being borne by the United States and crooked contractors who are raking it in while the people of Iraq continue to suffer. Not to mention that the Iraqi armed forces continues to be a total joke, proving completely disbanding Saddam Hussein's machine rather than trying to rebuild it was a big mistake.

How much has the US spend on critical improvements in Iraq over the last year? About $22 billion. How much have the Iraqis spent from their own money? About $3 billion. According to a declassified Senate report, about $10 billion of the windfall is at a bank in Manhattan rather than being spent to benefit the Iraqi people. Does anyone see the disconnect here?

It's important to have some cash reserves to prepare for the inevitable rainy day. But not at the expense of people continuing to suffer, allowing the anger against both the Americans and the current government in Iraq to continue to over boil -- and in consequence, giving terrorists a chance to gain new recruits. It may be true casualties for American troops are way down; but I doubt it's because of the so-called "surge." Extremist groups are just taking a breather waiting for the next round of insurgency; and news like this will only give them new fuel.

The Iraqi government complains that about $22 billion is tied up due to a dispute with the provinces about how to distribute the money. Here's a suggestion from your typical cynical Canadian: Equalization. (Just kidding.)

Is that what American service personnel are fighting for? Fighting as the third branch of a civil war where the US outspends Iraq 8:1 on rebuilding the country and an even higher ratio on military spending? Or is it to continue to perpetuate the myth that "we must fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them here?"

Needless I have to say this, but it's worth remembering that anyone can still go to a Home Depot, Lowe's, True Value or TSC and purchase a tonne or more of fertilizer with few or no questions asked and along with it some blasting caps; and have the materials delivered to any legal fixed address in North America where someone is there to sign the paperwork. Then just rent out a cube van, load in the crap and the caps, drive it to the location of your choice -- and light the fuse.

Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols were Caucasians, not Arabs; Christians, not Muslims. And terrorist cells, created by and for Americans, exist in the United States. I don't see a concerted effort to find and shut them down before they next explode. Nor do I see any vision to demand the Iraqis stand on their feet, now, and stop relying on the US for handouts while American infrastructure is crumbling due to neglect. The current situation is untenable; and it's worth noting that were it not for the war America's deficit would only be a quarter of what it is right now and the accumulated debt closer to $5.5 billion instead of the $9.5 billion and rising it is now.

Can you imagine the scowls that would come on the faces of people in Washington if America ran a surplus? Not that they could touch it. They'd frown and moan because they'd have to use it to pay back some of the money they owed. Well, actually, that's the idea. If Iraq can run a huge surplus by slacking, why can't America?

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