Thursday :: Sep 16, 2004

Real Money


by pessimist

As the late, Great Senator Everett Dirksen used to say, a billion here and a billion there - pretty soon you're talking real money.

Real money is what wars cost. Real money for war is raised by the government conducting the war through taxation. While conservatives don't like taxation, they like losing wars even less, so when it comes to war, taxes are a 'necessary evil'. Therefore, conservatives should not be too pleased with the prospect of retaining the services of George Wastrel Bu$h as Warlord, for he's demonstrated that he doesn't know how to conduct a war and win it.

All business deals, and the Iraqi Oil Acquisition was just such an arrangement, discuss foreseeable costs. Once discussions about the deal are completed, the party paying for the good or service expects that the agreement will be concluded without any additional fiscal surprises. Any overruns are to be absorbed by the provider.

George Wastrel Bu$h has not yet successfully concluded the Iraqi Oil Acquisition, and he's run out of operating capital. (Aside to our wrong-winger friends - do you now see why Arbust-o's mishandling of business affairs at Harken Oil and Spectrum 7 were both valid reasons not to select that putz to lead? He did the same thing to those ocmpanies as he's now done to our country.)

Guess what, Dumbya - Poppy's Plutocracy Pals aren't going to bail you out of this one. There isn't enough money in the world to buy out your creditors - and the Iraqi people in particular feel that you owe them a lot. But even at home, you have run out of credit - not only the financial kind, but the political. Senators, most nominally members of your own party, are asking some tough questions.

Senators See Budget Shift on Iraq as Sign of Trouble

Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said today that the Bush administration's request to divert more than $3 billion from reconstruction work in Iraq to security measures was a sign that the American campaign in Iraq is in serious trouble.

A thousand dead Americans GIs should have been a better clue, but I guess if you are going to steal another country's oil assets, you have to expect some casualties.

The $3.4 billion is part of an $18 billion package approved by Congress last year for public works projects like water and electrical facilities.

You know - things people need to live? Things that doing without tends to create great discontent?

The $18 billion in turn is part of an $87 billion package that Congress passed for the American-led effort in Afghanistan as well as Iraq.

We could have gotten a better deal from Wal-Mart. We already know they are cutthroats.

Richard Lugar gets it

Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, expressed his concerns as two State Department officials came before the committee seeking permission to divert more than $3.4 billion in reconstruction funds to security efforts. The request came a day after one of the bloodiest days in Iraq in recent months. "Although we recognize these funds must not be spent unwisely," the committee chairman, Mr. Lugar said, "the slow pace of reconstruction spending means that we are failing to fully take advantage of one of our most potent tools to influence the direction of Iraq." Mr. Lugar said the Iraqi people were looking for signs of stability as elections in their country drew near. "Few signs of stability are more convincing than successful reconstruction projects that boost the economy, repair infrastructure and restore municipal services," Mr. Lugar said. "If the shift of these funds slows down reconstruction, security may suffer in the long run," Mr. Lugar said, adding that security and reconstruction ought to be achieved "simultaneously."

Chuck Hagel almost gets it

Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska was even blunter in his criticism today. During the committee hearing, Mr. Hagel praised the two State Department officials, Ronald Schlicher, the deputy assistant secretary for Iraq, and Joseph Bowab, the deputy assistant secretary for foreign assistance, for the "directness and the honesty" they were showing in asking for the fund diversion. Mr. Hagel said the State Department request was "a clear acknowledgment that we are not holding ourselves hostage to some grand illusion that we're winning." Mr. Hagel went on to say that the request for reprogramming the money "does not add up, in my opinion, to a pretty picture, to a picture that shows that we're winning. But it does add up to this, an acknowledgment that we are in deep trouble."

Who woke up Joe Biden?

The committee's ranking Democrat, Senator Joseph R. Biden of Delaware, was far more outspoken. "The window's closing, the window of opportunity," Mr. Biden said. "I think it's about ready to slam shut." Mr. Biden has been sharply critical of President Bush's policies toward Iraq in recent months, so his remarks had a familiar ring. But his communications director, Norm Kurz, said this afternoon that Mr. Biden had backed the administration early on, only to become dismayed at the mistakes and lack of planning "since Saddam Hussein's statue came down."

Go back to sleep, Joe. Dick Cheney will have someone rouse you when they need your vote. At least there is one Democrat in the House that understands:

Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, also saw the State Department fund-shifting request as an omen. "It is increasingly evident that the president has no coherent plan to bring peace and security to an Iraqi operation that will last longer than World War II," Mr. Obey said in a statement. "We can continue to shift money around, but the billions of dollars in U.S. funds to rebuild that nation cannot be used effectively until Iraq is secure."

Despite Joe Biden's craven behavior when it comes to opposing Republican measures that are not in the country's best interests, he does manage to come up with a statement worthy of a man who once deserved respect:

"Dover Air Force Base is the place that every single coffin out of Afghanistan and Iraq sets on U.S. soil first. We owe it to those young women and men to get this right," Mr. Biden said a moment later.

I wish it wasn't too late to do that, Joe.


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pessimist :: 1:36 PM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!