April 8th, 2008
01:45 PM ET
7 years ago

Blitzer: Iraqis playing U.S. taxpayers for 'suckers'?

 The Bush administration had predicted Iraqi oil exports would finance reconstruction of the country.
The Bush administration had predicted Iraqi oil exports would finance reconstruction of the country.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just before and immediately after the U.S. launched its invasion of Iraq, Bush administration officials optimistically predicted that Iraqi oil exports would soon finance the reconstruction of the country. That didn’t happen. U.S. taxpayers were stuck with the literally tens of billions of dollars in bills.

Now, five years later and with the price of oil reaching more than $100 a barrel, Iraqi oil exports are generating huge sums - $56.4 billion this year alone, according to the Government Accountability Office. Senator Carl Levin, the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, says Iraq now has tens of billions of dollars in surplus funds in their banks and in other accounts around the world, including about $30 billion in U.S. banks right now.

But Levin notes that the Iraqis by and large are still not using their money to build new roads, bridges, schools and hospitals. Why should they? Uncle Sam is still doing that for them.

“The result is that far from financing its own reconstruction, as the administration promised five years ago, the Iraqi government has left the U.S. to make most of the capital expenditures needed to provide essential services and improve the quality of life of the Iraqi citizens,” Levin said in his opening remarks before the testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. “As of last Thursday,” Levin added, “the United States is paying the salaries of almost 100,000 Iraqis who are working on reconstruction.”

At a time of economic distress in the United States, including fears of recession, home foreclosures, job losses, infrastructure strains, and health care worries, U.S. lawmakers publicly are asking why the Iraqis themselves can’t pick up the tab for their own reconstruction. Privately, several of them are going one step further - asking whether they Iraqis actually are playing the U.S. taxpayers for suckers.


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. Mauricio Galvao Anderson

    Iraqis shoul not put a penny on reconstruction. Uncle Sam destroyed all the infrastructure, hospitals, jails, everything. Taxpayers will bear the cost of this unfortunate W adventure. He (W) broke the toy. He has to fix it.

    April 8, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. skylark

    Thank the GOP, thank the idiots who elected GWB twice, thank the congressmen and women on both sides of the aisle who approved the invasion. You know who you are. Sue Halliburton, Blackwater, and all the others who got richer with the blood of thousands.
    I will no longer call it a "stupid" war. It is way beyond stupid. It is criminal.
    Can we ever dig ourselves out of this hell hole we dug for ourselves with our blind party loyalty?
    America first, last and always!
    Charity begins at home.

    April 8, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. jj

    So when do we impeach BUSH & CHANEY?? Maybe we can get our money back from them. Really, I don't understand why impeachment proceedings haven't been started against them. They've lied, they've destroyed evidence, they tell us everything is presidental privilege and scream if we try to bring anyone into a hearing. They've told their people to ignore the orders to appear before congress. and yet we let them keep on going, what kind of cowards did we elect in the congress.

    April 8, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. WWIII

    The problem in Iraq is mainly coming from Iran. But we can't do anything about Iran, because China and Russia block all sanction efforts. Soon it will be Axis (Russia, China and Iran) vs. Allies (U.S., U.K. and Australia) all over again. Hopefully Dumbya will realize what is happening before Iran has nukes to fire at Israel.

    I'd like to say thanks to the Warmongering Republicans and their failed policies for yet another war.

    April 8, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I believe the Iraqi government came into existance far too early. We should have had kept the Iraqi state run businesses and factories working. That would have kept some of those that were fightting out of it. But Bremmer was a foolish ideolog and said let the market take over and do it... There was no market there!

    What I would like to see is that we get paid back by the Iraqi government in some facet starting now. How you ask? Let us start with the Iraqi refineries that produce gasoline; that goes FREE to the military that requires so much of it to keep some level of violence down. I would also think that the Army Corp of Engineers would do a much better job of planning and executing reconstruction projects than the Iraqis.

    April 8, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. Myra

    Remember what Powell said you break it you own it. Welcome to your tax dollars at work.

    April 8, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Kai Jorgensen

    Please send your comments to Obama – and next time he appears on your show, please ask him what he's going to do about getting some of the money iback, if he gets to be elected President????

    Kai Jorgensen

    April 8, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. Phil, Boston MA

    Bush and his failed policies are going to bankrupt our country for sure. We need to stop being the police of the world and look in our own back yards to see what is going on right here. Bush is a joke and should have been impeached long ago.

    April 8, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. maynard

    its not just the oil countries that are rising the price of fuel. ask how many elected officials have stock in the oil business. then look at your suppliers in the united states and see how much they raise there price for transportation expense . now the only way to deal with this problem is go to these countries and deal with them one on one. then tell them we will pay this much for your oil and if we can.t deal with you then we will make this place into one big swimming hole. then blow up one oil well the story woluld change in a minute
    and you would have all the oil that is needed in this country next would be the oil suppliers but that is another story

    April 8, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. jw, canadian,ok

    Thanks George (Dubya) Bush for officially being the worst president in the history of these United States.

    April 8, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. stag

    USA=We are "Us Suckers Again"

    April 8, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. NickNas

    Yes Wolf Just as sure as Hillary Clintons supporters are being played for Suckers as they send in their Gas and Grocery money to fund her campaign as she LOANS herself money she will then take back and doesn't bother to SPEND any of that $109,000,000 her and bill have in the bank. She won't fund her own run OR Save her people from being known as " The Deadbeat crew" SAD!

    Not putting your own money where your mouth is is a very telling sign.

    April 8, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Ratgurl

    Wow, it only took 5 years for someone to realize that America is footing the bill for this war (which was SUPPOSED to be paid for by oil profits). Did someone in the media finally wake up?

    April 8, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Justin from West Haven, CT

    Pakistan did it to us, why not Iraq? 10 billion was wasted in Pakistan, how many trillion should we spend on Iraq? Not like education, healthcare, and infrastructure matters in America, that would be socialism. Instead let's give vigliantes government contracts and pay off terrorists.

    April 8, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. brian

    are you kidding me? we invaded, occupied and now we want to expect them to pay to rebuild the infrastructure that we destroyed? i mean i don't want to pay for it myself, but its the US's fault. so i, we, should. to not recognize that is to ignore simple fact. they don't owe us anything for us being there, if anything we owe the Iraqi people a sincere apology for thousands who died due to our invasion, directly or indirectly. as well as every family of lost soldier, sailor, airman and marine lost in a war that has nothing to due with securing our freedom or national security. ask why our civilian leadership sent our bravest into harms way for nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with national security, nothing to due with preserving our freedoms.

    please, dont fall to the argument that Saddam was just plain a bad man, cause then there are a lot of other countries we should invade based on that, including a few allies. also, we do know there were no ties to al-qaeda, KNOWN no wmds. to ignore that, after all the facts came out, well is just plain silliness. someone that silly doesnt have any valid arguments anyway.

    finally, ask why some of my, your fellow Americans think its their job to rebuild what we destroyed? is that not a sign of the trouble were in if thats a common thought? i mean if someone hits your car, would you exepct that you should pay to fix it? or should the irresponsible driver fix it?

    April 8, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. Val

    I have one thing to say, thats crazy, as far as I am concern they can run there own country now, do or die, your choice.

    April 8, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. Nancy in Fort Myers FL

    You know what, someday somewhere they will be showing the United States needing funding to take care of our poor and hungry.

    You know what they say keep doing the same thing and you keep getting the same results isn't it time for us to do something different when it's not working.

    CAN SOMEONE PLEASE WAKE UP BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.

    April 8, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Another Typical White Woman

    And, this surprises you?

    April 8, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. LUIS ALICEA

    I can't understand what we are doing in Irak after all this years. All that money that we are spending there now can be use for foreclosure, healthcare, education, roads. Look at all those bridges that are falling down while we are repairing there country. Another very important point is that the nation get very upset when we waste money in ilegal inmigrants that even some people want to admit or not they still pay taxes in there pay checks and in Irak they are taking all our tax money for free. At least if the price of oil were to be cheaper.We are wasting all our treasure in there country ,we are paying more for oil and they are saving all of there money in there bank when we owe money everyday to China. Nobody is listening to China but at the end China will be the superpower of the world.

    April 8, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. MD

    Well we are made into suckers at the hands of our inept and uneducated "president."

    Not only the Iraqis, but also people in other middle eastern countries, are laughing at us hysterically.

    Half a trillion dollars down the drain in the "hope" of controling the iraqi oil production!

    April 8, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Truth Seeker

    While it is true that we destroyed their country, we should still use oil funds to re-build. The real story is the corruption that is going on in Iraq. I wonder how many of Bush and Cheney's friends are making billions from this war. It is truly outregeous how incompetent ALL the "leaders" of this country have been concerning this war. Both Democrats and Republicans are complete and total IDIOTS look what BOTH parties have done to this country, it has made me an independent. Could we please give washington an enima?

    April 8, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Tony

    We (Americans) just dont learn from the past, not only from our past mistakes, but from history lessons. The fall of the United States as a super power will come from what we have allowed to occur during the past few years. The vast majority of all Americans just stood by and hoped for the best. A few will take us down the drain if they havent already.

    April 8, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Joe

    EXACTLY!! Vote O8ama and bring our troops and MONEY home!

    April 8, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. C.U.C.

    IRAQIS TAKING US FOR WHAT SUCKERS? WHO SAID WE ARE USING $10 BILLION A MONTH TO "REBUILD" IRAQ? WHICH IRAQ? IRAQ HAS NO RUNNING WATER, NO ELECTRICITY, NO ROADS, NO HOSPITALS, NO SCHOOLS, NO POLICE, NO TELECOMMUNICATION, NO SECURITY – SO WHERE DOES $10 BILLION- A- MONTH GO TO?

    THINK MY FRIENDS!, THINK!! – CONGRESS MUST HAVE TO PROBE WHERE THE MONEY GOES. IF $10 BILLION A MONTH IS SPENT FOR RECONSTRUCTING IRAQ, THAT COUNTRY WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE DISNEY LAND, BY NOW. NO, MOST OF THE MONEY IS GOING INTO PRIVATE POCKETS. REMEMBER THAT OUR SOLDIERS HAD TO FIGHT WITH INADEQUATE WEAPONS, WHILE HALLIBURTON OVER-INVOICED OUR SOLDIERS MEALS IN TUNE OF OVER HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, A MONTH. THAT GIVES YOU THE IDEA WHERE ALL THE MONEY GOES.

    WHY DID OUR GOVT HAVE TO DECIMATE THE ENTIRE IRAQI INFRASTRUCTURE – JUST TO CATCH SADDAM HUSSIEN (OR TO FIND WMD)? DESTROYED ALL ROADS, SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, OFFICES – EVERYTHING. IT IS TO CREATE THE SITUATION THAT WILL ALLOW WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW – IT IS A WELL THOUGHTOUT, PLANED, BUSINESS ENDEAVOR.

    IF WE TRY TO TOUCH IRAQI MONEY FOR THESE REPAIRS, IRAQI LEADRES WILL SCREAM MURDER, AND EXPOSE THE ON-GOING DIRTY DEALS TO THE WORLD. IT IS ONLY AMERICANS THAT WILL TOLERATE IT. OUR GOVERNMENT KNOWS THAT, AND THATS WHY THEY USE OUR MONEY.

    INSTEAD OF ASKING HARD QUESTIONS, WE ARE CONTENTED BY SIMPLY CALLING BUSH DUMBYA. BY THE TIME THE FULL STORY IS OUT, IT WILL BE CLEAR THAT WE ARE THE DUMBYA WHILE THE BUSHES, CHEYNEYS AND THEIR MINIONS LAUGH TO FAT OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS. THEY ARE NOT AS STUPID AS WE THINK. THEY ARE ON SERIOUS BUSINESS, AND WE ARE STILL BLIND TO THE REAL PLOT. WE ARE THE STUPID ONES, FOR LETTING THEM PLAY US THIS MUCH, THIS LONG.

    April 8, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Chad

    You break it you bought it?

    I didn't break it. I didn't vote for Bush. Let the people who voted for Bush volunteer to pay for the war if they are so for it!

    April 8, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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