10.10.04 Put Greed to Work!
Item: Bush people are saying Kerry is fantasizing if he thinks the Europeans will join him in a war he's called a mistake.
Also in the news: people are shocked, shocked to discover corruption in the oil-for-food program that the U.N. was trying to administer in Iraq before the invasion. There is a lot of finger-wagging at France and Russia, whose businesses got lots of contracts and played into Hussein's scam. (Oh, yeah, there were American companies with their hands in the till too, but their names are blanked out of a recent report.)
What is the relationship between the two stories? I think that, on occasion, Greed can be used to trump Arrogance.
It's possible that we could have chased down and cracked open the scandal before the invasion and toppled Saddam simply by drying up his cash.
But that's hindsight.
Now the key is to get those enterprising countries back into the contracts business. Remember, only Coalition members can now do reconstruction in Iraq. And reconstruction is going s-l-o-w, which is fueling Iraqi anger. The money allocated isn't even being spent.
The right-wingers need to unknot their knickers over the U.N. and France being "in cahoots" with Saddam. Here's my plan:
First, we sit down and help the Iraqi Minister of Whatever develop a proper bureaucracy and audit trail over reconstruction contracts. Like, in a week. The corruptible bare bones are already there -- add the follow-up and audits. (Oh, do we have any accounting firms left who can certify a system as corruption-resistant?)
Second, like the original deal, contractors get paid in oil vouchers. (Obviously, the oil pipelines will get fixed first.)
Third, invite in everyone whose greed is greater than their good sense. The only proviso: countries who want their companies to participate have to provide troops to secure their safety.
Result: entrepreneurs flock in with their nation's troops, the heat is off American soldiers, and Iraqis get their country rebuilt faster. And it would tighten the spigot of red ink at our Treasury. Voila.
I don't understand why Kerry-Edwards hasn't been clear about this option. I thought Edwards had it half-way out of his mouth on Tuesday but he veered off. It seems so logical to me, but maybe it's too complex for easy soundbites, but can't they refer to it as "carrots instead of sticks"? Maybe they fear the backlash of those who go batshit overthe U.N. and France and Kerry's internationalism. But why not take advantage of our natural vices once in a while, instead of always feeling obliged to fight them. Isn't that how capitalism won the twentieth century?