Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The costs of empire just keep going up.
Iraq will need "several tens of billions" of dollars from abroad in the next year to rebuild its rickety infrastructure and revive its moribund economy, and American taxpayers and foreign governments will be asked to contribute substantial sums, U.S. occupation coordinator L. Paul Bremer said yesterday.

Bremer said Iraqi revenue will not nearly cover the bill for economic needs "almost impossible to exaggerate."

. . . A State Department official said the Bush administration is preparing to seek a "huge" supplemental spending bill from Congress. Administration sources also said the U.S.-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority is running so low on funds that the White House is considering seeking an emergency infusion next month to cover the organization's bills.
Unlike the troop costs, which are variable from providing country to providing country, rebuilding Iraq's electricity system will cost $13bn regardless of who pays. Considering the lackluster follow-through on the big promises in Tokyo of $4.5bn in aid to Afghanistan in January 2002, I wouldn't expect to see donors scrambling to line up behind Viceroy Bremer's request. If "several tens of billions" of dollars can't be squeezed out of Iraq any time soon, the US will pay the bulk of the costs -- on credit, of course.

Or perhaps the US Congress can pass a special "Iraq tax" or run a special "multistate Iraq lottery game"?


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