Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Money-Making, Mideast Style

Iraq is piling up a projected four-year budget surplus of $80 billion from exporting oil at rising prices, but the government is still too fragile to manage its own reconstruction, requiring US billions to do the job.

That proposition may not thrill Americans feeling pain at the pump, as a bipartisan gripe from Sens. Carl Levin and John Warner foreshadows oncoming outrage: “It is inexcusable for US taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for projects the Iraqis are fully capable of funding themselves.”

Back in 2003, Paul Wolfowitz of sainted Neo-Con memory told Congress, "We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."

"Soon" has been five years in the making but is still not here, according to the report from the Government Accountability Office, showing Iraqi oil revenue from 2005 through the end of this year adding up to at least $156 billion with much of the surplus sitting in an American bank earning interest.

But maybe we should look at it this way: By investing the money back here rather than elsewhere, Iraq is doing its bit to help the American economy fight the credit crunch.

Isn't that what friends are for?

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