Monday, June 21, 2004

According to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483 (2003) paragraph 14, recapitulated by the most recent UNSC Resolution 1546 (2004) on Iraq, the Development Fund for Iraq is established "to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people, for the economic reconstruction and repair of Iraq's infrastructure, for the continued disarmament of Iraq, and for the costs of Iraqi civilian administration, and for other purposes benefitting the people of Iraq".

They also should have added "for buying friends of the United States military" as well.
Struggling with bureaucratic problems in spending the money appropriated by Congress to rebuild Iraq, American authorities are moving quietly and quickly to spend $2.5 billion from a different source, Iraqi oil revenue, for projects employing tens of thousands of Iraqis, especially in the country's hot spots, Bush administration officials say. . . .

Some of the money has gone to American military teams operating since the beginning of the occupation 14 months ago. The teams have become famous in Iraq for the way they have spread across the country, commissioning repairs and paying for them from satchels bulging with $100 bills shipped by plane from a Federal Reserve vault in East Rutherford, N.J. Much of that money came from Iraqi assets frozen in the United States during the Persian Gulf war in 1991.

At least $1 billion has been distributed in this fashion � by some estimates more than $2 billion.

"The military commanders love that program, because it buys them friends," said an administration official, referring to the cash distribution. "You want to hire everybody on the street, put money in their pockets and make them like you. We have always spent Iraqi money on that."
Considering that some $2bn has been disbursed in this way, you'd think that the US would have bought the friendship of more than 1% of the Iraqi population by now.


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