Mafia lessons

Bush has asked for $87 billion to rebuild Iraq. Actually, that’s a lowball figure–he really wants more like $150 billion, and once you add in the interest payments, it will be many times that. But let’s stick with $87 billion. Of that, most of it will go to pay for American forces over there; the rest will actually be used for reconstruction (that is, Halliburton contracts).

But even the $20 billion or so for actual reconstruction is a lot of money, and some Democrats have shamefully proposed–and some Republicans supported–the idea that the money should be treated as a loan to Iraq, which that country would repay.

Now, never mind the whole blood-for-oil slogan. Never mind that the administration mistakenly thought that the Halliburton welfare project rebuilding effort could be paid for out of oil revenues. The idea that one country would invade another, blow it up, and then charge it for repairs is appalling. The Mafia has it figured out: they charge you protection money up-front, so that nothing…unfortunate happens to your country. We could save everybody a lot of trouble if we’d just extort rather than invade and then try to take money.

1 thought on “Mafia lessons”

  1. Well, perhaps they never mean to actually collect those reconstruction costs from Iraq because they knew Iraq couldn’t afford it (due to the poor infrastructure from a decade-long embargo, even before the war damage and subsequent sabotage). But the idea of the Iraqis paying for their own reconstruction provided nice cover early on for the administration. And later on, the Iraqi “debt” provides a nice excuse for giving them a lifetime membership in our sphere-of-influence club.

    Turns out the Pentagon had a secret task force assess Iraqi production capacity last year and the findings were grim. Despite this, officials later painted a rosy picture to Congress.

    from yesterday’s NYT:

    The task force, which was based at the Pentagon as part of the planning for the war, produced a book-length report that described the Iraqi oil industry as so badly damaged by a decade of trade embargoes that its production capacity had fallen by more than 25 percent, panel members have said.

    Despite those findings, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told Congress during the war that “we are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/05/international/middleeast/05OIL.html

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