American Empire, War Economics (Justice,Greed,Tax)

The Amazing Disappearing (Borrowed) Dollars

Former President Clinton, in an interview on ABC (as reported in Common Dreams):

“What Americans need to understand is that … every single day of the year, our government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, and our tax cuts.”

“We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else.”

“We depend on Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Korea primarily to basically loan us money every day of the year to cover my tax cut and these conflicts and Katrina. I don’t think it makes any sense.”

There’s something smelly here. When Clinton says “my tax cut” he does not mean a tax cut he proposed or passed. He means a tax cut he gets because he is among the wealthiest Americans, and George Bush takes care of the wealthiest Americans financially, even if it means bankrupting the country.

Common Dreams also runs an article from The Independent about a cool $1 Billion that has just vanished from the Iraq Defense department – money that was supposed to make Iraqi forces able to defend (at least) Baghdad so US forces could (someday) be reduced – money the expenditure of which was largely under the supervision of US military and civilian personnel.

One billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq’s defence ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, The Independent can reveal, leaving the country’s army to fight a savage insurgency with museum-piece weapons.

The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to a country shattered by the US-led invasion and prolonged rebellion, was instead siphoned abroad in cash and has disappeared.

“It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history,” Ali Allawi, Iraq’s Finance Minister, told The Independent.

“Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal.”

The carefully planned theft has so weakened the army that it cannot hold Baghdad against insurgent attack without American military support, Iraqi officials say, making it difficult for the US to withdraw its 135,000- strong army from Iraq, as Washington says it wishes to do …

Senior Iraqi officials now say they cannot understand how, if this is so, the disappearance of almost all the military procurement budget could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisers working in the defence ministry.

Government officials in Baghdad even suggest that the skill with which the robbery was organised suggests that the Iraqis involved were only front men, and “rogue elements” within the US military or intelligence services may have played a decisive role behind the scenes.

Well, that’s what we should expect, since we are in fact in charge of both the occupation and the government. Not only does the buck not stop in the current climate – the buck moves extremely fast and in huge quantities.

Is there a pattern here – something like suicidal money-lust dominating everything? Can we expect top officials of our government to suddenly disappear one of these days – maybe like Osama – to hide in the security they imagine this immense wealth is buying them? Or am I just being silly?

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