We Break It, They Pay For It

Should Iraqis have to cover the costs of rebuilding their war-ravaged infrastructure, or pay for the transportation costs on joint U.S.-Iraqi military operations?

The Senate Armed Services Committee thinks so:

With energy prices soaring and the federal deficit approaching $400 billion, senators from both parties moved yesterday to force Iraq to shoulder more financial responsibility for its reconstruction and self-defense.

On a unanimous vote taken late Wednesday night and announced yesterday, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved legislation that would prohibit the Defense Department from funding any reconstruction or infrastructure program that costs more than $2 million.

Under the plan, Iraq also would have to pay to train and equip its security forces and provide the salaries of Sunni-dominated “Sons of Iraq” security groups. In addition, the administration would have to negotiate cost-sharing agreements for U.S.-Iraqi joint military operations, with an eye toward Iraq picking up the tab for items such as fuel.

Senators said they would move later this month to expand those provisions and bar any federal agency — including the State Department — from financing large-scale Iraqi rebuilding projects.

“The American taxpayers are paying for too many things . . . that the Iraqis ought to pay for out of their surplus,” said Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.). “They export 2 million barrels of oil a day. That oil brings in about $120 a barrel. It is unconscionable, it is inexcusable, it makes no common sense for a country that has that kind of wealth and that kind of surplus in our banks and their banks to be sending us the tab.”

Amazingly enough, Iraqi officials don’t think the Pottery Barn rule applies to them:

As Congress gears up to debate the Bush administration’s latest request for an additional $108 billion in war funding for Iraq and Afghanistan, Iraqis are fuming at suggestions being floated by lawmakers that Baghdad should start paying a share of the war’s costs by providing cheap fuel to the U.S. military.

“America has hardly even begun to repay its debt to Iraq,” said Abdul Basit, the head of Iraq’s Supreme Board of Audit, an independent body that oversees Iraqi government spending. “This is an immoral request because we didn’t ask them to come to Iraq, and before they came in 2003 we didn’t have all these needs.”

Via Cursor.

2 Responses to “We Break It, They Pay For It”

  1. Chief says:

    Is Abdul Basit right, or what? We invade, we occupy, we destroy, and we want them to pay for it?

  2. CeeHussein says:

    Basit is right. I got ticked off today when I heard Obama talking about the Iraqi government doing more!

    How dare any of us form our mouths to demand anything of our victims.

    WTF! They’re supposed to provide cheap fuel so our planes can fly faster from one bombing run in Sadr City to another in Baquba?

    The nerve. And people wonder why Rev. Wright feels the way he doe!

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