Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Ultimate "Bale-Out"

The war in Iraq has been a non-stop hemorrhage since Day One, and now it turns out that it was an even greater hemorrhage than anyone thought. Among the many brilliant measures undertaken by the Bush administration was the shipment of, literally, bales of $100 bills – in C-130 cargo planes – to Iraq in order to pay bribes... er, I mean, provide “walking-around money” for our collaborators... er, I mean, to rebuild the infrastructure that we had just destroyed... er, I mean... oh, the hell with it! Suffice it to say that we shipped enough long green over to Iraq to rebuild Detroit from the ground up... and it was subsequently used for... well, actually, no one knows. Now it seems that it was “possibly stolen” -- which is kind of like saying that a BMW parked in East L.A., unlocked, with the keys in the ignition, was “possibly stolen”. So, “the biggest international cash airlift of all time” -- at least since the Shah fled Iran – simply disappeared into the Black Hole of Baghdad, without a trace. And thus the biggest-ever cash airlift became “the largest theft of funds in national history”. (The L.A. Times article doesn't say which nation is being referred to – the U.S. or Iraq. But it hardly matters.)

Now, it would be easy to get outraged by all this, but remember, we're only talking about $6.6 billion here – mere chump change compared to the total cost of the war, which is hundreds of times that and still counting. And I can make an argument that every cent of that was stolen as well -- from the American economy and from the taxpayers. Plus, what I actually suspect is that it was put to better use than it would have been if we'd somehow managed to hold onto it. I mean... who knows, it might have wound up paying for food, or housing, or medical supplies. Oh, I guess it could also have gone for “weapons of mass destruction”, but at least it was (presumably) stolen and then spent by Iraqis, i.e. the people whose country we invaded. So there is a bit of justice in all of this. We invade, and then ship tons of (increasingly-worthless) currency over there to pay for what we destroyed? That in itself is unprecedented in human history – at least up until the Marshall Plan. As usual, we always manage to snatch economic defeat from the jaws of military victory.

And speaking of Iraq and money, how do you like that proposal by Rep. Data Rohrabacher that Iraq pay us back for the expenses of having invaded and occupied their country? Wow – this puts a whole new spin on the reparations issue. Now all of a sudden an economy that is, basically, in the toilet is supposed to not only come back to life (assuming it ever had life) but become so prosperous that it's able to pay us back for all of our exertions over there – none of which any of them asked for or desired? OK, so... let me get out my pocket calculator here. Even if Iraq should someday start running in the black (highly unlikely) it would take... let's see... slightly over 10,000 years for them to repay the “debt” that Rep. Rohrabacher seems to think they owe us. (That's assuming that we withdraw all troops and other personnel immediately and forget that Iraq ever existed.) Well, fortunately, the Iraqis aren't falling for it. They don't feel that they owe us a thing, in fact! No guilt, no contrition! They steal bales of our $100 bills with impunity, in fact – as noted above. And they dare to fuss and complain about a still-destroyed infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded civilians. Sheesh – it's enough to make you want to throw them out of the American Empire. Well, almost enough – but they are charter members now, and I guess we have to keep putting up with their griping.

And I guess I shouldn't be too hard on Rep. Rohrabacher. After all, he did condition his recommendation on the condition of “once Iraq becomes a rich and prosperous country” -- which any idiot can tell is never going to happen. So maybe it was just some fantastic joke... except that a few Iraqi politicians took it seriously anyway.

No comments: