Funding the war, not the rebuilding...


Well-Known Member
Sep 24, 2006
Anyone see the news?

"President George W. Bush won a battle over nearly $100 billion to fund the
Iraq war as Democratic leaders in Congress on Tuesday abandoned efforts to withdraw troops for now but pledged to try again in July.

Instead of setting schedules for pulling U.S. troops, it appeared the Democratic-run Congress and the Republican White House agreed for the first time to include conditions prodding Baghdad to make better progress toward quelling violence or risk losing around $1.3 billion in U.S. reconstruction aid."

If I remember correctly from my history class, it was the reconstruction aid after WW2 that made the rebound of Europe so successful, not the troops we left there. Fewer troops and more rebuilding would probably lead to a happier, less violent, and more productive Iraq. It looks like our politicians (on both sides of the aisle) are taking the exact opposite tact, threatening the rebuilding of the infrastructure we destroyed if our troops aren't more successful.

I also find the ratio of $100 billion for troops and bullets to $1.3 billion in reconstruction aid to be laughable. If I was Iraq I'd say thanks but no thanks.

Could the United States be any worse at nation building?
I just wish this all would end. It just seems like were not getting anywhere like we are at a standstill. I hope you're right and it's up from here.
Right after the fall of Saddam, there was an attempt to rebuild the infrastructure but the continued fighting undid it all. I know that Iraqis complain about the lack of running water and electricity, but most of the time those utilities have been blown up again by Iraqis. How do you keep redoing things?
I think we've come a point where the US has given as much as we can to help rebuild the infrastructure of the country. Every time we help get something up and running, the Iraqis bomb it and tear it up again. How much longer is that going to happen? And how much longer are we going to throw good money after bad?
Put yourself in their shoes. If someone came to your town, blew up the power plants, cut off the water, maybe killed a relative or two of yours, how would you react? What would they have to do to get you to trust them? If you were them, would you stop fighting at this point?

I just think 1 billion in rebuilding money is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount we've spent (hundreds of billions) destroying them. We aren't going to win any hearts and minds by continuing on that path. Its not like America coming to their country was a good thing and they're just too blind to see it. We've ruined a lot of lives there without making anything better. I think we have an obligation to seriously attempt to clean up our mess.

We need to change their minds about evil America. Shoving more troops with more guns in their faces inst going to do that. Building schools and hospitals and getting basic services up and running just might.
If only it were that easy. It isn't! You build schools and hospitals and get the water running (as we have done time and time again) and they blow it up.
Who exactly is the "they" in your previous post? And how often has it happen? Theres a difference between a terrorist bombing a market, and a civilian blowing up a hospital we built for them. I've heard of plenty of cases of the former, the latter though I haven't. Can you point me to a news story?

You also sound as though maybe you think they're ungrateful. As far as I can tell, I don't blame them. Again try and think of things from their point of view, how could they possibly trust us?
I'm not going off in search of news stories to substantiate my statements because they're numerous. It doesn't matter whether it was insurgents or civilians who blow things up, which ever one does it keeps doing it.

I haven't given the slightest thought as to whether they trust us or not. I know I don't trust them in the least.
This is why people hate Americans. If you recall they gave us no reason to invade their country. No WMD, no connection to 9/11. We showed up, ruined their country, killed their families, destroyed their infrastructure and on and on.

How can you pretend what we've done to them is irrelevant going forward? Don't you feel the slightest obligation to fix our mess over there? What would you suggest we do? Keep killing them, or just leave and let them deal with the giant disaster we created for them? (Knowing full well that they would fail and the result would be a larger Iran)

The bottom line is this is now not a war, its a military occupation. You can't occupy a population that loathes you without taking constant military losses. So to make an occupation succeed, we need to make them like us. Not giving that "the slightest thought" is a sure path to continued failure.
I don't recall that there was no reason to invade their country. Even Bill Clinton conceded that there were WMD and that Hussein was a problem. Just because this has turned into one nasty situation over there, people bail out on the original reasons.

Fine. Let's leave. Give them the same money as we would spend if we were staying there ...let them rebuild. And, guess what? It won't happen. Too many factions. Too tribal. Unfortunately, for us, we have to stay. Otherwise, the instability now will turn even worse. That said, there was instability with Hussein.
I'm not sure if you're implying that the US intelligence agencies still thought there was WMD in Iraq prior to the invasion, but it wasnt the case. (or other sources if you perfer: 1,2,3) In any case, were you an Iraqi, you might find the reason to be invalid considering no weapons were present. "Sorry we had to kill your family, but we just wanted to double check on the weapons you never had in the first place" doesn't go very far.

If you read what I was saying, I didn't suggest that we leave the country. I suggest we actually think about the people we're trying to occupy, since maintaining an occupation without constant casualties requires a level of cooperation from the population. I'm suggesting that continuing to fight them and threaten their infrastructure and their families without providing a way forward will not get the level of cooperation we need to be successful in the country. Because of that, increasing the troop count while cutting the reconstruction aid is a foolish way to go.

We should not leave Iraq, doing so would create total chaos, and a power vacuum that our strategic enemies in the area would immediately fill. On the other hand, continuing with a "might makes right" strategy will continue to tarnish our world reputation, and achieve nothing but more troops and Iraqi civilians in body bags. Its time to bring forward a Marshall Plan style reconstruction plan that creates a very tangible path out of of the mess everyone in that country is living in. Only when they have something to live for will these people stop throwing themselves at our troops in suicide missions.