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View Diary: the largest one-time cash transfer in the history of the New York Fed (192 comments)

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  •  You're right, this was the purpose ... (4.00)
    ... of the Iraq war. But the money you mention was Iraq's. It was held in the US, and was claimed, by the CPA, in order to "pay for reconstruction". In the interregnum from Saddam's government to whatever it is they are trying to set up, the looting of assets, money and land has been widescale in Iraq, and there's quite a shameful story to be told, when the whole thing is over.

    In the international luxury trade, they are using the term "Baghdad boom" to describe the benefits of the Iraq nation-grab.

    "I don't do quagmires, and my boss doesn't do nuance."

    by SteinL on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 11:56:21 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Read this article to learn the real plan for (4.00)
      looting Iraq:

      Baghdad Year Zero: Pillaging Iraq in Pursuit of a Neocon Utopia by Naomi Klein in the September 2004 Harper's.

      ...Immediately after the nominal end of the war, Congress appropriated $2.5 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq, followed by an additional $18.4 billion in October. Yet as of July 2004, Iraq's state-owned factories had been pointedly excluded from the reconstruction contracts. Instead, the billions have all gone to Western companies, with most of the materials for the reconstruction imported at great expense from abroad.

      With unemployment as high as 67 percent, the imported products and foreign workers flooding across the borders have become a source of tremendous resentment in Iraq and yet another open tap fueling the insurgency. And Iraqis don't have to look far for reminders of this injustice; it's on display in the most ubiquitous symbol of the occupation: the blast wall. The ten-foot-high slabs of reinforced concrete are everywhere in Iraq, separating the protected--the people in upscale hotels, luxury homes, military bases, and, of course, the Green Zone--from the unprotected and exposed. If that wasn't injury enough, all the blast walls are imported, from Kurdistan, Turkey, or even farther afield, this despite the fact that Iraq was once a major manufacturer of cement, and could easily be again. There are seventeen state-owned cement factories across the country, but most are idle or working at only half capacity. According to the Ministry of Industry, not one of these factories has received a single contract to help with the reconstruction, even though they could produce the walls and meet other needs for cement at a greatly reduced cost. The CPA pays up to $1,000 per imported blast wall; local manufacturers say they could make them for $100. Minister Tofiq says there is a simple reason why the Americans refuse to help get Iraq's cement factories running again: among those making the decisions, "no one believes in the public sector."[1]

      This kind of ideological blindness has turned Iraq's occupiers into prisoners of their own policies, hiding behind walls that, by their very existence, fuel the rage at the U.S. presence, thereby feeding the need for more walls...

      •  Why this story wasn't huge... (none)
        I don't know. This should have been one of the biggest stories of the year last year. I guess the election took over. It just proves that the war is all about corruption. Congress won't investigate either. Sad.

        'In order to learn from your mistakes, you have to recognize that you made them.' - Molly Ivins

        by bobinson on Wed Aug 17, 2005 at 08:18:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Importing Reconstruction (none)

        Yes, this is something that has been annoying me as well. When there is a hurricane in the US, relief organizations ask you not to go out and buy aid materials and donate it but instead give them the money so they can buy the materials in the affected area. I.E. they go down to the local hardware or grocery store and buy it (and the local hardware store pays to have material shipped in). This puts money into the local economy and creates jobs in an area where jobs were lost due to businesses being destroyed. Also, it frequently reduces the distance materials need to be shipped.

        There are a few exceptions. In the very short term it can make sense for people to throw donated food on trucks and drive it to the disaster area from around the country since the local economy can't respond that quickly. Another exception is when obtaining materials close to the disaster could exacerbate environmental damage.

        The average income in Iraq was around $3600 (1980), $900 in 2001, and $525 in 2003. So instead of paying one American contractor $100,000 (not counting cost plus), we could hire 100 Iraqis at 2001 salary levels, or about 30 at pre-desert storm salary levels. And you wouldn't need all the soldiers to defend them.

        If our governments goal actually was to rebuild Iraq, we would be doing things differently. If our goal is to maintain unrest and chaos so we have an excuse to keep troops there, then we are doing a bang-up job. If our goal is to line already well lined pockets of Bush supporters with taxpayer money, well the current method works just fine.

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