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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.blitzeriowa.cnn.jpg caption=" 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. Willam from Texas

    Exxon-Mobile is probably the Iraqis to steal oil in order to create a shortage.

    April 8, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  2. Jose'

    If we were taking their oil, or money, you ignorant fools would all be on here claiming Bush is stealing!

    You are all proof our schools are failing us.

    April 8, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. Willam from Texas

    Exxon-Mobile is probably Paying the Iraqis to steal oil in order to create a shortage.

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

    Why should the Iraqis pay anything when, under Bush-Cheney, the US taxpayer will pay everything inj this "war."

    April 8, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  5. sue

    Does any of you notice every time Hillary gave a good answer during a debate, then Obama would answer "I agree with Hillary" after? Also, every time Hillary lays out some plans to fix our economy, Obama would then lay out his which are carbon copies of hers.

    April 8, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Sam

    everybody in this country is playing the taxpayers for suckers because of that the Iraqi government taking advantage of this, the federal government the state government the mayors you name it they all playing us for suckers what else you want, we pay the taxes for schools and hospitals guess what the state of NJ closing HOSPITALS school system is sucks everything in this country is going upside down.

    April 8, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. Minneapolis MN

    USA Out Iraq

    April 8, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. John Smith

    As a Catholic, I will continue to say the Rosary for anyone who votes for Hillary. Great nations such as the Roman Empire, fell because of lack of "morality, integrity, lies and so on." These types of moral issues are more important than "wealth." With all their wealth, the Clintons cannot fund their campaign?

    April 8, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Shannon Shiflett

    no wonder we're poor - our government bombs countries and then uses our tax dollars to rebuild it.

    why aren't we all on strike?

    April 8, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Paulinus, Canada

    America used the 911 terror attack and WMD to invade Iraq. No WMD were found and the terrorists were not operating from there. The war is not justified and therefore, Iraq owes America nothing. Instead, America is responsible for destroying Iraq and should pay for the destruction. Lots of American Lives have been lost due to Mr Bush’s and his supporter’s cavalier action. So blame the recession on Mr Bush.

    April 8, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Stan

    The insurgents are using the money to fund their operations. The political groups are accumulating money to wage civil war. The scumbags and tribal leaders are lining their pockets. Which one of these wants to build roads, schools, electric grids, sewer and water treatment? Puhlease.

    April 8, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. Unreal - NYC

    And why not? Most of us are suckers...

    How else can you explain 2 terms of the moron Bush and the blind

    devotion to a presidential candidate who confuses a snipers rifle fire

    with the flowers received by an eight year old and her welcoming


    Americans are generally clueless... Washington prefers it that way...

    This is pathetic; what a joke we must be!

    News Flash America: It is NOT 3am....... so WAKE UP!!!!!

    April 8, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. Danny in Pittsburgh

    Iraq have a budget surplus. The militants we're paying to NOT shoot at us make TWICE as much as the national salary average. They have banks with money and a small business loan program in place–low interest, no less.

    Ummmm...in our struggle to make Iraq America...what has America herself become? We have a mind-numbing deficit, our wages are stagnant against inflation for nearly a decade, and our banks are being BAILED OUT by American taxpayers, all while the prospect of getting a loan or credit has disappeared for all except the very well off among us.

    Something is WRONG with this picture. If you vote for John McCain, you are as much a threat to our nation's future as any terrorist. Because we are dying a slow death from within, based on these convoluted policies.

    April 8, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. Tim T.

    As someone once said, "Those that don't learn from history [the Vietnam War] are condemned to repeat it." Some say Iraq is not Vietnam. Yeh, sure.

    April 8, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. mdg

    Actually, I thought the was the Saudis who first played us for suckers, egging us to invade Iraq by saying Saddam was the threat to the region!

    Even after "mission accomplished", Bush said we have to stay till the Iraqi's make progress. Now there's progress and we still have to stay?

    Hard to tell who's zooming who, eh?

    April 8, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Stephen,Wilmington,NC

    OK, so are we stupid or what? The answer is yes, we are. This is another screw up of George Bush and Condi Rice. The Iraqi government is not going to pay for the milk when they can get the cow for free. Our stupid Congress holds the blame however because they are the ones that OK'ed the bills. It's a US government gone nut's. Bring our fokes home and let the Iraqi people do whatever. That's what I think and I'm a registered Republican.

    April 8, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. ldavid56

    Looks like time to send the Iraquis a bill for services rendered.

    April 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Ali Smith

    The whole war was based on lies, so why does anyone think that the Iraqis would pay for the war lie would be different? Only foolish Christian fanatics who have accepted that big lie would accept and believe in George Bush's smaller lie that all would go well and that the war would not cost Americans that much in treasure or lives. The way to end the cost to America is for all American forces to leave Iraq and let the Iraqis slaughter each other like the beasts they are.

    April 8, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Donna A. Reuter

    A friend of mine returned from serving in Iraq and told me that the Iraqis are lazy and untrustworthy.

    April 8, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. TOM sc

    Have G W Bush declare war on the US. Arest VP Cheney . March into NY ,LA etc then pay unemployed folks to rebuild the country.

    April 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. debra

    With that kind of money they should be paying us.

    April 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Just an Observer

    What can we do about this as American citizens but accept it. I guarantee you that for every dollar that is spent, another dollar is wasted. As an American, do we really care. We complain about paying taxes but we don't scream when our taxes are being wasted and wasted and wasted.

    April 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Marv...

    The Iraqi people aren't that dumb at all. As we continue to go into debt and the value of the dollar drops, that is what Bin Laden wanted anyway is to destroy the US economy, and Iraq continues to stack money. It won't be long before they're in a better position than the US. I wonder how long it will take before the remaining support of Bush and McCain dry up. Are we really that slow as Americans?

    Just to think, all this confusion because the issues in last two elections were homosexuals getting married and abortion. We as a people have a long way to go as far as our thinking abilities are concerned. I don't see any improvement in the area of education either, because we have "No Child Left Behind". We actually thought gays and abortion clinics would destroy this country. Nope.... the conservative Right beat them to it.

    April 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. John

    This whole war disgusts me.. Its been a fraud since day one. Where is our money going???

    If I could tar and feather Bush I would

    April 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Diing, Washinton, DC

    They said our men and women in uniform would be welcome with flowers or some roses in Iraq. IT DIDN'T HAPPEN

    They said the war was going to be funded with the oil for food program. IT DID NOT HAPPEN

    They said the WMD were in Iraq. WE DID NOT FIND THEM

    They said numerous other things that are NOTHING SHORT OF LIES.



    April 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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