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3 January, 2006

Funding the trough

I don't know how to interpret this, beyond being slightly repelled by the Guardian's gloating tone.  To save people clicking the link immediately, the article reports that the Bush administration is not going to ask the US Congress to allocate further funding to reconstruction work in Iraq.  The existing allocation ($18.4bn) will expire in 2007, leaving key Iraqi infrastructure projects far from complete.

I don't doubt that a proportion of these projects are to modernise and improve the pre-invasion infrastructure, and all credit to the USA for offering genuine assistance in re-establishing Iraq as a viable independent (well, sort-of) nation.
However, let's face it: a substantial amount of work is to repair damage caused by US armed forces – the US government is morally obliged to contribute to those costs.

There's another aspect: if the Bush administration* no longer feels able to pay for reconstruction, does that mean that US firms will cease to receive preferential access to engineering and resourcing contracts (c.f. Halliburton), allowing some of the profits to stay in Iraq? Yeah; right.

*: as opposed to the other branches of the US government, and indeed the USA itself – please don't misinterpret this entry as lazy anti-Americanism.

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