Monday, March 10, 2008

The Village Green Zone Preservation Society

Forget golden parachutes, our staunchest "allies" in Iraq have been busy assembling golden helicopters (complete with rooftop liftoff capabilities):

The Democratic chairman and Republican former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee have asked government auditors to determine what Iraq is doing with the billions of dollars in oil revenue it generates.

"We believe that it has been overwhelmingly U.S. taxpayer money that has funded Iraq reconstruction over the last five years, despite Iraq earning billions of dollars in oil revenue over that time period that have ended up in non-Iraqi banks," Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John Warner, R-Va., said Friday in a letter to the head of the Government Accountability Office.

The link comes via Swopa, whose emphasis I've borrowed. Swopa is, at last, returning to the Iraq beat now that I've successfully cajoled him out of his election-blogging cocoon. He adds with trademark bite:

There has been speculation among wags in Iraq (which I'm sure I've quoted here at least once in the past) that having built up no popular base of support during their incompetent/corrupt/etc. reign, the former-exile politicians who have dominated the post-U.S. invasion government there will go promptly back into exile as soon as the Americans stop propping them up.

Depositing billions of dollars in foreign banks suggests that they might be preparing for this eventuality.

The friends we keep. While we're on the topic of profiteering and the economic drain of war, I might as well highlight the most recent predictions regarding what the Greatest Foreign Policy Blunder in US History will cost US taxpayers:

The flow of blood may be ebbing, but the flood of money into the Iraq war is steadily rising, new analyses show. In 2008, its sixth year, the war will cost approximately $12 billion a month, triple the "burn" rate of its earliest years, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and co-author Linda J. Bilmes report in a new book.

Beyond 2008, working with "best-case" and "realistic-moderate" scenarios, they project the Iraq and Afghan wars, including long-term U.S. military occupations of those countries, will cost the U.S. budget between $1.7 trillion and $2.7 trillion — or more — by 2017.

Interest on money borrowed to pay those costs could alone add $816 billion to that bottom line, they say.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has done its own projections and comes in lower, forecasting a cumulative cost by 2017 of $1.2 trillion to $1.7 trillion for the two wars, with Iraq generally accounting for three-quarters of the costs. [...]

In a Jan. 30 report to Congress, the GAO observed that the U.S. will be committing "significant" future resources to the wars, "requiring decision makers to consider difficult trade-offs as the nation faces an increasing long-range fiscal challenge."

Mercifully for John "Hundred Years to Infinity" McCain, both studies only projected out to 2017, a mere comma in a single sentence of McCain's interpretation of War and Peace. As he put it himself recently:

"It's a false argument to say how long we're going to stay, because [Obama and Clinton] don't understand warfare.

"Warfare has got to do with victory or defeat. They want to declare defeat; I want us to continue to have this victory."

Yes, how could Clinton and Obama want to deprive us of the pleasure of enjoying this victory for the next century and beyond? Not only a resounding and perpetual victory, but a bargain too. Obviously, McCain, and those Green Zone former-exile Iraqi politicians, really understand war. The rest of us are so naive.

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