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The White House just announced that it would be requesting $250 billion more for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Most of that will be thrown down the Iraq drain rather than the Afghanistan one, and more money will no doubt be thrown after. It's a fair guess that the Iraq mess alone will cost us at least another $250 billion before it ends (and when it ends, it ends for us, not for them).

Thing is, the population of Iraq is only 26 million and change. $250 billion is nearly ten thousand dollars per Iraqi. $10,000 won't buy much from Halliburton, but to an Iraqi it's serious money. (Iraq's GDP is only $1000 per capita at the current exchange rate.)

I'm sick of being told that nobody can criticize the president unless they have a better plan than he does, so here's one: give the money to the Iraqis.

Why not? Leave--today--while putting aside $260 billion and a bit, to be delivered to every single Iraqi man, woman, and child when the country is stable. Bribe them to stop fighting.

This was originally a piece of snark to illustrate just how much money we're flushing away in Iraq. It still is, but I gotta confess, the idea is also growing on me.

If it works, we won't be out any money that we weren't already going to spend.

If it doesn't work--if we wind up leaving Iraq to anarchy--well, I would love to see a plan that doesn't leave Iraq in anarchy.

That last bit wasn't snark--I really would love to see that.

Originally posted to Manfromporlock on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 02:06 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  But then how (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tovan, Luetta, dancewater

    would Halliburton make a profit?

  •  What if before the War..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp

    we had taken a fraction of the trillion dollars this war will cost, oh, maybe a tenth of it, and started to deal with Saddam.

    We had a relationship with the guy in the 80s, so we could have sent his buddy Don Rumsfeld.  Remember, and this we must keep repeating, Saddam Hussein, and his Bathist party was a bulwark against Jihad.  It was the secular force that resisted Iran in the 80s, our best hope then, and sadly, it could have been once again, before we destroyed his regime.

    Now we have a hundred billion, to play with.  We could have provided him with security, and convinced him it would be better to revert to his earlier secularist days, before he donned his white robes. We could have given him the same choice we gave to Packastan's Masherriff, who decided it was better to play ball with us.

    So many innocent Iraqis, So many young Americans would not have been killed or maimed.  America would have had resources to prevent terror rather than fomenting it.

    If only.  If only

  •  Logistics would be darn tricky (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GTPinNJ, dancewater

    but not nearly as tricky as permanently occupying a hostile populace.

    Many Iraqis are pretty urbanized (or were before we trashed their infrastructure) so they'd probably go for the cash.  

    In more rural areas like Afghanistan, probably tangible goods would work even better, and cost even less:  you get your choice of 10 goats, 100 chickens, a diesel generator, or a motorcycle.   Can you imagine what a difference that would make in people's lives?  The goodwill we would reap dollar for dollar would make tanks AND psyops extremely cost-ineffective.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 02:15:32 PM PST

    •  Yeah. Logistics... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tovan, lgmcp

      Given that we lost something like $8 billion of reconstruction dollars there already, I'm sure everyone in Iraq would get their share.

      I like your idea of giving them tangible goods.  Make a flatscreen TV with satellite one of the choices.  A couple of months of American television and everyone over there will be too apathetic to worry about killing each other.

      I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

      by GTPinNJ on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 02:19:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Or we could trade TVs for their guns ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp

        cars for guns ... cash for guns ... chickens for guns ...

        if kindness is contagious, help start an epidemic

        by tovan on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 02:22:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds like a case for the Purple Finger (0+ / 0-)

        though I do worry about all the elderly widows being bludgeoned and relievedof their share in an alley afterwards.  

        As I would here, were major handouts to occur in a chaotic setting.  Oh, did somebody mention FEMA vouchers?  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 02:24:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  How About (0+ / 0-)

    We feed them so many delicious freedom fries they burst, get them discretely available Hustler magazines, and turn their brains to mush the rest of the time with reality TV? Okay that last bit requires regular electricity and heavy consumer electronics so scrap that, we'll just get them greasy chips and some of those nifty Negroponte Bros. laptops with wifi?

    That'll fix 'em.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 02:33:09 PM PST

  •  already paying for Iraqi civilians killed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp

    by US troops
    from:

    http://www.commondreams.org/...

    U.S. military officials said they had settled 1,168 compensation claims totaling $262,263. Most were for property damage, and no payment was more than $15,000. But officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, could provide no information about compensation for deaths.

    "How much is an injury worth? How much is a life worth? It all depends on the value of a life in Iraq. The value of a life in Iraq is probably a lot less than it would be in the U.S. or Britain," one official said.

    Sunday's briefing highlighted inconsistencies in the handling of compensation payments: In the city of Fallouja, where U.S. soldiers killed 18 people and wounded 78 in April, the American military commander in the area has been paying $1,500 for each fatality and $500 for each injury, Associated Press reported.

  •  I just heard some guy, a general, say on msnbc (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp

    that he thinks this surge is actually an exit strategy. And Ive been thinking that myself from when I first heard about it. Its just too little troops to rationally think that it could accomplish anything.

    I think theyre setting up being able to get out within about a year, definitely before the '08 elections. Theyre setting up McCain too (to be their nominee for Pres), to be able to say that he opposed Bush's straetgy in Iraq all along, not that we shouldnt have gone in but that we should have went in with a different plan and with more troops from the very beginning. I cant believe thats gonna fly, but I think that may be their plan.

    I do wonder what is going to happen when we leave. I think the Bush Admin is hoping they can share the blame with anti war liberals, the media, etc... for the violence that follows. They'll try to say that the pressure/criticism caused the war to be a failure and caused us to leave too soon. I dunno, that sounds kinda crazy but I think thats what theyre planning.

  •  Actually, I read a serious plan like this. (0+ / 0-)

    Wish I could remember where, and the details. But the gist of it was to provide financial rewards for peace.

    What do we have to lose, except money, which we're going to lose anyway?

    -4.25, -4.87 "If the truth were self-evident, there would be no need for eloquence." -- Cicero

    by HeyMikey on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 03:34:21 PM PST

  •  Heifer International could handle it, (0+ / 0-)

    along with the Carter Center.

    Just sayin'...

    Listen Before You Talk.

    by ormondotvos on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 03:43:09 PM PST

  •  I seem to recall (0+ / 0-)

       reading somewhere--can't remember where--that Prince Bandar told Dubya before the invasion that for 200 million or so, they could buy the loyalty of all the top Iraqi military brass.

       Wonder how much difference that might have made... hell, one of them might have eliminated Saddam for us, thus preventing some of the chaos and possibly precluding the need for an occupation.

       No wonder Dubya said no...

    What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

    by happy camper on Fri Feb 02, 2007 at 04:38:27 PM PST

  •  I believe there are (0+ / 0-)

    three ways to fight an insurgency....

    bribery

    civil war

    genocide

    I think bribery just might work, and it is certainly worth a try.  It is far more humane than civil war (which we are trying right now).  bush may try genocide, but I don't think he will get away with it.

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