Billion Giveaway Unjustified
passed an $87 billion spending bill last week to fund our occupation of Iraq,
$20 billion of which is an outright foreign aid giveaway of your money for all
kinds of civic and social programs there. This
$20 billion was tied to money for troop support, so that members of Congress who
object to wasteful and unconstitutional foreign aid would feel compelled to vote
in favor of the bill. This new
spending comes on top of the $80 billion we have already spent in Iraq, and the
price tag easily could reach one trillion dollars if our occupation drags on for
and foremost, we simply do not have the $87 billion to spend.
The federal government literally will have to borrow or print the money
needed for our ongoing occupation of Iraq.
This new spending will only add to the record budget deficit of $525
billion projected for 2004. At this
rate, the Treasury will face single-year deficits of one trillion dollars by the
end of the decade.
every attempt to make portions of the $87 billion a loan was defeated.
Several House members argued that providing money for American troops is
one thing, a naked foreign aid giveaway another.
After all, Iraq has trillions of dollars worth of oil reserves. Why
should future generations of Americans, rather than future generations of
Iraqis, pay the bills for creating a new Iraq?
If we really believe we have liberated the Iraqis, surely they should be
asked to repay some of the financial costs.
Yet both the House leadership and the administration vehemently insisted
that the full amount be provided as a gift, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers.
years ago, former President George Bush Sr. described his thoughts in the
aftermath of the first Gulf war. When
we think about our occupation of Iraq and the staggering costs--both human and
financial--Mr. Bush’s words are stunning:
“Trying to eliminate Saddam Hussein…would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible…We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq…There was no viable exit strategy we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world…Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land.”
This is sound thinking and sound advice by the elder Mr. Bush. Had Congress heeded his words, we would not be voting to spend even more money nation building in Iraq.