THE BILL FOR REBUILDING IRAQ
The Small Details
of The Bush War
WARNING: The following numbers are not official, for no government would
dare divulge dumping billions of tax dollars to restructure areas of the
world it pummeled into granite powder.
Our series on the pending military action in Iraq continues this week
with a breakdown of the inevitable rebuilding of the country we'll be
bombing into near oblivion in a few weeks. A team of tireless accountants
- excluding my accountant, who was excused to allow for the constant 24
hour watch which effectively keeps me from financial self-destruction,
and my father, who after nearly 40 years of this shit has taken on the
monumental feat of willing NC State into the NCAA tournament - joined
our War Room to estimate the taxpayer investment in razing and then reconstructing
a nation halfway across the globe.
Make no mistake; this fiasco will not be lengthy nor will it be anything
approaching competitive. The Iraqi army is weaker than it was 12 years
ago, and that wasn't exactly a fighting machine. Even with troops spread
out all over Europe and Asia and other points Middle East, the US Army
will obliterate the Iraqi infrastructure within a month, tops.
And when those left are finished surrendering to CNN camera crews, the
bill will come due.
Okay, now raise your hands if you know the extent of US tax dollars funneled
into the rebuilding of Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo or Afghanistan in the past
decade. If your hands are still down, use them to hang on to your wallet.
We'll start with Somalia, because in terms of rebuilding, it was a drop
in the bucket at $1 billion of US military and humanitarian funds spent
between in 1993 and '94. But later in '96, the World Bank estimated the
total cost of cleaning up the Clinton Administration's other charitable
fascination with Bosnia at $5.1 billion over four years.
However, the US costs alone reached that number after the first three
years culminating in a grand total of $30 billion for the complete economic
reconstruction of the Balkans. This included our funds to rebuild Albania,
Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia and Romania at $2.2 billion.
The numbers on piecing together what was left of Kosovo are a little hazier,
but the more concrete breakdown of war costs make up for that. According
to a June, 1999 Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments analyst
report in Rueters, the US coughed up $3 billion to take down Slobodan
Milosevic amid the fumes of what was once Yugoslavia. This incorporated
$1 million cruise missiles, 300 grand worth of tank-busting munitions
and the occasional laser-guided bombs running $100,000 apiece. While the
rest of Europe picked up the tip, our 1,000 aircraft, including 24 Apache
attack helicopters, 18 multiple launch rocket system artillery pieces
and some 5,500 supporting Army troops rounded out the grace-saving gig.
And when you get to the cost of hanging around and making sure the deal
sticks, the US spend up to $3.5 billion the first year to deploy peacekeepers.
Now for what continues to be an ad hoc covert operation in Afghanistan,
going on its second year of spying, torture and all around merriment,
according to a BBC report one year ago, the cost of rebuilding a country
that was worth about 40 cents of infrastructure when we began gutting
it is $297 million a year.
Note that our research does not go back to the tons of cashed dumped into
Desert Storm 12 years ago, because of cost-of-living curves and vacillating
inflation numbers, but suffice to say that wasn't cheap.
This latest and greatest standoff with Iraq will also not be cheap, but
it's too late to back down financially or politically. The cost of ramping
up this sucker has already rivaled the first six bombings of Baghdad alone.
And unlike the Gulf War, this will be a full-scale invasion to unseat
the current government, which means a complete dedication to rebuilding
the damages, defending the next regime and keeping overall peace in a
region our current government feels will start to be cleansed by this
Our dollar share in this starts at $15 billion a year, while also risking
the lives of thousands of US troops defending a reported coalition government
that includes Sunnis, Shias and Kurds.
Whether this war protects our oil interests, bolsters Israel's defense
or puts the scare into terrorists remains to be seen. What is known is
the tremendous financial burden it will put on the American taxpayer,
the majority of which want little to nothing to do with it. To a nation
struggling through an economic quagmire, this will either be crippling
or productive. Again, a hard gig to predict, but one that is all but inevitable
save Saddam Hussein's head appearing on a platter at the UN anytime soon.
© James Campion March 2003
A Reader's Response:
An opinion from Venezuela
Mon, 21 Apr 2003
I think your worries are not totally justified: Consider that only importing
4 million barrel a year from Iraq, the USA could be saving up to $ 12.000
per year. I expect the oil price to fall not less than 8 US $ / per barrel
after the war. If half of it is spent in reconstruction, still the USA would be saving
$ 6.000 million per year and creating hundreds of specialized jobs in
the USA and in Iraq.
It sounds coldhearted, but
A Venezuela reader,
Plinio Cabrera PhD
Campion On 'The War in Truth'
is no way the radical Muslim hatred of the US will be any worse or lessened
in the wake of this invasion. We are dealing with thousands of years
of religion fanaticism..'
REASON AT THE FORT
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are real now. Not even Georgetown is answering my calls'.
know what the Axis of Evil is? Money. Money. Money.'
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