Greed and Gall: Asking Iraq to Pay for Its Occupation

By David Swanson

The minority of Americans who support the war largely do so out of a sense of responsibility to Iraqis. They favor reconstruction and restoration as well as ongoing occupation. And most of the majority who favor ending the war support the financing of reconstruction, which – after all – costs less than war. Reconstruction seems to be something we generally agree on.

Of course, very little reconstruction has been done or appears likely to be done, and recent reports are that the Bush Administration doesn’t want any more money for it – having spent most of the money already allocated for reconstruction on other things.

So, I was disgusted to see a website called www.nationalreferendum.org promoting rebuilding New Orleans with payments from Iraqis. We invaded their country, killed 100,000 people, left the place a wreck, and neglected our own cities – so they should pay us?

It gets worse.

I learned about that website because Jeeni Criscenzo, a candidate for U.S. Congress, forwarded me an Email the group had sent her. The Email pretends that the US has actually followed through on all sorts of extravagant promises to the Iraqis, and then proposes repayment – apparently oblivious to the fact that it is illegal both to invade another country and to seize its resources.

Here is the Email:

From: Goretzky2@aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2005 7:56 PM
Subject: For Ms. Criscenzo – Congressional Candidate

Dear Ms. Criscenzo:

This is an update from our last email.

We, the Coalition for National Referendum, are writing to you as a Congressional Candidate. Fourteen Congressional Candidates are now in support of the “statement” contained below. (The names and contact information for these Congressional Candidates are at the end of this email)

The issue we are writing to you about is Iraq repaying the United States for the expenditures that have been made in Iraq.

The United States has spent over $250 Billion ($1,967. from every American Household) to aid in the reconstruction and defense of Iraq. Iraq has the third largest proven oil reserve in the world, 115 Billion barrels, worth over $6 Trillion.

While Congress is in the process of making significant cuts in programs and raising the deficit because of a lack of money, American Taxpayers are subsidizing the following for the Iraqi people:

1. Gasoline: “While Americans are shelling out record prices for fuel, Iraqis pay only about 5 cents a gallon for gasoline – a benefit of hundreds of millions of dollars subsidies bankrolled by American taxpayers” (Associated Press, June 6, 2004)

2. Food: The Iraqi people receive “free basic foodstuffs” (The New York Times, August 11, 2005)

3. Health Care: In Iraq Heath Care is “free at the point of delivery and based on primary health care principles” (The Guardian, UK, November 30, 2004). Therefore, while 44 million Americans do not have health insurance, the American Taxpayers are subsidizing Health Care for 25 million Iraqis.

4. Higher Education: Article 34 of the Iraqi Constitution states “Free education is a right of Iraqis in all its stages” (Associated Press, August 24, 2005) Therefore, while Americans are struggling to find ways to finance a College education, the American Taxpayers are subsidizing free College education for the Iraqi people.

Iraq now has a Constitution (passed in a National Referendum). A permanent Government will be elected on December 15, 2005. There is simply no reason why Iraq should not repay the aid given by the United States.

We are not suggesting that this repayment from Iraq be done in a harsh way. Rather we are stating that the repayments occur over a period of time so that Iraq can continue to rebuild and grow economically.

Repayments form Iraq would encourage the Iraqi people to quicken the pace of providing for their own security. Thereby bringing the war to a successful conclusion and allowing American troops to return home safely.

We have found through “focus groups” that over 70% of the people support this proposal, regardless if they are Republicans or Democrats, for or against the war. In short, this proposal has overwhelming support among the American people.

We would be happy to help to incorporate this issue into your Congressional Campaign at NO COST to you or your campaign.

We would like to list your name (Congressional District, State, Website and/or email address) on our Website in support of the statement: “The United States should request and receive repayments from Iraq equal to the money that has been spent by the United States on the rebuilding and defense of Iraq.”

If you have any questions or comments feel free to call me at 1-800-331-8918 or reply to this email.

We thank you for reading this email and look forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes always, I am,

Sincerely,
Myron Goretzky
Chairman
Coalition for National Referendum
www.nationalreferendum.org

The Fourteen Congressional Candidates who are in support of the “statement” contained above are:

Bob Ellis
Democratic Congressional Candidate
9th Congressional District,
Georgia rjellis@knology.net

Raymond Wardingley
Republican Congressional Candidate
1st Congressional District, Illinois
RayWardingley99@msn.com

Mark Leyva
Republican Congressional Candidate
1st Congressional District, Indiana
info@markleyva.com

Katherine Fox Carr
Democratic Congressional Candidate
5th Congressional District, Indiana
carrforcongress@yahoo.com

Andy Horning
Republican Congressional Candidate
7th Congressional District, Indiana
AndrewHorning@hotmail.com

Charles Floyd
Republican Congressional Candidate
8th Congressional District, Maryland
chuckfloyd@comcast.net

George Weber
Democratic Congressional Candidate
2nd Congressional District, Missouri
geoboots@aol.com

Mike Barrett
Republican Congressional Candidate
7th Congressional District, Minnesota
staff@barrettforcongress06.com

Barry Michaels
Democratic Congressional Candidate
3rd Congressional District, Nevada
michaelsforcongress@yahoo.com

Tim Robb
Democratic Congressional Candidate
2nd Congressional District, New Jersey
timrobbcongress@aol.com

Jim Parker
Democratic Congressional Candidate
2nd Congressional District, Ohio
parker309@msn.com

Joe Ortega
Republican Congressional Candidate
13th Congressional District, Ohio
joeforcongress@joeiii.com

Jon Porter
Democratic Congressional Candidate
31st Congressional District, Texas
jon.porter@sbcglobal.net

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