The French Ambassador to the U.S. has let it be known he wants the rebuilding of Iraq to be conducted under the umbrella of the U.N. I'm sure they just cringe at the thought of the U.S. being in charge. Sounds like an attempt to keep the cheap Iraqi oil flowing to France. Hope Bush does not fall for this obvious attempt at salvaging their interests. Here is what the Ambassador said:
[Ouote]Ambassador Jean David Levitte
On rebuilding Iraq: "We don't see participation in the reconstruction of Iraq as a privilege, we see [it] as a moral duty. To rebuild Iraq will be very costly. When I read that Iraq is a very rich country, you have to know that for the past years all exports of Iraq [earned] only $15 billion a year, and out of this, 25 percent goes to Kuwait because Kuwait suffered major destruction in the occupation by Iraq.... what is left is just enough to feed the Iraqi people through oil for food program. The oil for food program will be stopped when the war starts... Then will come the time immediately after the war to rebuild the whole country. But you don't have billions of dollars for that. You don't have money.
So the choice is either for the United States...to go alone and pay the bill or to involve others to pay and participate in the reconstruction of Iraq. And the cost in our view will be huge. We consider for that it will be much better to have the kind of UN umbrella as we have for instance in Afghanistan where we are together ...."
I am not so sure that the rebuilding of Iraq will cost nearly as much as people say it will. Cost us, anyway.
The current figure for sales of oil by Iraq are those of a nation under embargo. After we are through, the embargo of course will be over. I think one of the first goals we will have in Iraq post-Hussein will be the building of Iraq's oil production infastructure. Once that is done, Iraq can pay to rebuild itself.
France is trying to "have its cake, and eat it too." They want to oppose us in the war but want to share in the spoils in oil trade and PR that rebuilding Iraq and making it a strong, thriving, Democratic community will bring.
I say "Fuck-em." And I hope the US and UK (and the others) say so too.
The more nations we can get to rebuild Iraq with us the better, as far as I'm concerned. It spreads around the risk of terrorist acts against our troops in-country, to say nothing of spreading the rebuilding costs around.
It also minimises our time in country a bit, hopefully. Iraq's gonna need a LONG term of nursemaiding if any democracy is going to take root (even the CIA reported the prospects for it surviving were "slim.") so quick initial victory or not, this is gonna be a long haul, regardless of whether we do it ourselves or let the UN mop up.
So you really think that the Saudi's, Kuwait, and every other oil producing country is gonna be all thrilled that Iraq can now export more oil? I doubt it. Corporate interests will try as much as they can to keep Iraq bottled up.
If they studied their paper money for clues as to what their country was all about, they found, among a lot of other baroque trash, a picture of a truncated pyramid with a radiant eye on top of it, like this:
Not even the President of the United States knew what that was all about. It was as though the country were saying to its citizens, "In nonsense is strength."
Since when can OPEC keep everybody on the same page? Every time they try to restrict oil output as a form of Arab protest, some oil-producing country usually steps up production to fill that market void. More money for them, and OPEC fails to drive up the price by reducing supply.
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The debt ceiling is a tricky thing. If we didn't raise it, the country would go into default. Which is, shall we say, bad. I'm all for fiscal restrain and all, and the Republicans have screwed the pooch on it. But this had to be done.