Dems Want to Loan Instead of Grant Iraq 20 bil??

Apparently, Democrats, along with a few Republicans, are pressuring the Bush Administration to make the 20 billion reconstruction piece of the 87 billion spending package on Iraq a loan instead of a grant:

I find this stupefyingly stupid. Just amazingly awful. Does anyone out there agree with these guys? If so, why? I’d really like to know.

Not clear which “these guys” you are finding amazingly awful. The “these guys” who want to make it a loan, or the ones who want to make it a grant?

The guys who want to make it a loan. Iraq already has 200 billion in outstanding foreign debt that we’ll need to lobby their creditors to forgive or reschedule or something. This will just make that job harder, not to mention getting anyone else to come in and help us foot the bill for reconstruction or help us out in peacekeeping.

Article on Iraqi foreign debt:

I find it extremely disconcerting to be solidly in the Republican leadership’s camp on this one. Course, I don’t think they’re really doing the right thing either - should really be spending rather more. Easy for me to say, I guess, since it’s not my money, but I believe pinching pennies in Iraq will result in dire consequences. If I’m not mistaken, this called “false economy” by financial types.

I have to come down on the side of the Bush Admin on this one. This should be a grant. I also think that we, (US, UK and the rest of the coalition), should foor the entire reconstruction bill. Especially, if we’re going to make sure that our companies have a competitive advantage on receiving contracts.

Well, no one else can foot the bill.

The country has been deliberately wrecked for more than a decade by Hussein. That damage ain’t our fault, but I’m willing to pay to fix it.

The damage isn’t the USA’s fault? None of it, huh? Who dropped those bombs, then?

The thread title could just as easily been GOP Senators Seek to Make Some Iraq Aid a Loan:

It seems to me that there are more than a few who wnat this on both sides of the aisle. Why don’t we just cut through the partisan crap, and call them all morons ? That’s got the ring of truth to it:

Morons Want to Loan Instead of Grant Iraq 20 bil??

He said that ‘that’ damage, i.e., the damage caused by Hussein.

We certainly have a lot of damage to pay for, but it’s not like it’s all on our tab.

There’s nothing that isn’t being fixed in Iraq that isn’t going t have 10-20 year maintenance, up-grade, servicing, blah, blah contracts attached to it. That’s where the US usually makes it’s money with developing nations and ‘aid’.

I’d hazard if you want to loan them money, then they should get to decide whom to contract with in the first place, never mind those on going servicing contracts; kind of weird to say ‘here’s the money, now you choose contract with Halliburton again’.

Hence, loans will only be sanctioned in connection with contacts US.Plc isn’t interested in. In my humble opinion, of course.

A forced loan will undermine whatever credibility the CPA has in Iraq and throughout the Arab world.

What are the Dems thinking? “Yeah, let’s destroy their already-crummy government and infrastructure, and then make them pay to rebuild it!” That’ll win those hearts and minds.

I opposed the war, but, by God, I support the reconstruction effort. We can’t screw this up. A half-assed reconstruction would be terrible for the Iraqis, but in the long run, it would be even worse for the U.S.

This is craven populism at its worst. I don’t know which is worse, the arrogant neocon ideological blindness manifested by dismissal of millions of protestors as a “focus group”, or the cynical, poll-driven irresponsibility of the Democrats who are pushing this extortion plan. Ugh.


I have some of the same feelings

It seems it is already being assumed that the USA will not meet its responsibilities to reconstruct Iraq and for this reason, Iraq will remain a shithole for many years.

Well, since we’re in charge of Iraq, all of the damage in Iraq is on our tab. No seperate checks for this meal. Hussein ordered and ate, but skedaddled before the bill arrived.

I never thought I’d back the administration on anything remotely related to Iraq, but quite simply, this idea is idiocy of truly epic proportions. The Democrats should be insisting on MORE reconstruction spending, not a forced loan like this. If people want this situation to become a foreign policy disaster, and to anger potential donars and allies, this would certainly do it.

There is only one *possible reason for doing this, and that’s to use the loan as leverage to get France and Russia to dismiss their loans, or at least an equal amount.

It goes like this:

“Okay, Iraq owes us 20 billion, and we’re the lenders of first resort. So if you guys want to stick to your guns and demand that you get repaid, we figure you’ll get your money in, say, 2085. On the other hand, we’re willing to forgive our debt if you do the same. Or perhaps we’ll forgive our 20 billion if you each forgive 20 billion of yours, and then maybe a payment plan can be arranged whereby you guys actually get *some money before the century is out.”

That said, I still think it’s a bad idea, because the political ramifications are devastating. You don’t invade a country and then give them a forced loan used to hire your own businesses to reconstruct it. It’s true that the majority of reconstruction work is NOT to repair damage done in the war, but to repair infrastructure damaged by a decade of neglect. That doesn’t change the perception of this in the middle east, though.

The U.S. should: A) pony up the 20 billion or more. B) Declare Iraq a U.S. free trade zone to encourage positive contact between Iraqis and U.S. companies. And encourage other nations to do the same. Get some reconstruction money to flow in their through business investment.

Well, some of the countries that Iraq owes money to have offered to forgive some of the astronomical debt already, ( 1000%+ of projected budget revenues, the equivalent for the US would be ~$2quadrillion). So, that possible idea’s not really that probable. I suspect that it’s just provincalism and pennywise-pound-foolish idiocy.

Iraq already has been declared something similar to a free trade zone. It’s quite a dramatic shift for Iraq. Iraqis won’t be able to compete w/ foreigners. The import tax is only 5%. The Iraqi economy was heavily subsidized in many sectors. Suddenly, they will have to be competing on very nearly equal footing w/ foreign companies who work out of countries with plenty of capital and sound infra-structures. Iraqis’ll get creamed in fair competition. This could easily serve to maintain the incredibly high jobless rate. Tens of thousands of unemployed young men in a country full of sore spots that’re attributed to the US could be very suceptable to Islamist propaganda efforts.

Iraq should get up and running again before it has to compete on a level playing field, so as to eliminate some of this risk.

My sentiments exactly. Dorgan’s [D-ND] a hack of the worst sort, by my reckoning. I’d never heard of the guy until I saw him the other night on TV, boasting about how he got all 14 Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee to vote a straight party line vote to back some amendment related to making the grant a loan. Shocked would not begin to describe my reaction. Then again, we are talking about a representative from a state whose population is probably less than any one of the five boroughs of NYC. Makes you want to throw out the whole idea of having a Senate in the first place.
OTOH, Biden of Delaware, an equally small state, and a Democrat, opposes this passionately. So maybe all is not lost.
Still, it seems like the idiots in DC are playing some kind of tag team here, with first the right doing everything it can to destroy our credibility in the world by staging this wacky war, and then the left pitching in by making the victims pay for it.
The rest of the world must be shaking its collective head in total bewilderment. I know I am.