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March 11, 2003

Humanitarian Aid to Business

I've got to admit that I've not been too huge a fan of the US in recent months. And I guess I'm not alone.

However, I was puzzled by the difference between how the Today programme and BBC News Online reported the story of how Iraq will be rebuilt by the US, and preferably only the US.

The Today programme made out in their headlines that 'only US firms will be allowed to bid for contracts in the rebuilding of Iraq'. But I didn't hear them mention that it was US, rather than international aid money that they were talking about.

I was all ready to rush to the blog this morning, post a link and look like a smug smartarse, with a nice coda about 'shouldn't the people of Iraq decide who gets to rebuild them?'. Only now I can't.

But there is a serious issue here - where does 'aid' become 'investment'. While I can't see the sense of spending a hundred billion dollars on a war to provide just under a billion of construction work, I can see the merits of being first in there when the loan repayments become due.

A UN development programme spokesperson said "any idea that Iraq can pay its own way without a substantial period of reinvestment is very wide of the mark". They also noted that oil production is 2m barrels/day, when it has been 3.5m barrels/day. That's a lot of room for interest payments!

Bush said "It's Iraq's oil". That's as may be, but they may have to use it as the US tells them.

Posted by Tom Dolan at March 11, 2003 09:27 AM

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Isn't it funny that the majority of the hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, but since we get oil from them and Iraq won't "share", we still go after Iraq?

Posted by: Blaine at March 11, 2003 10:24 AM

And then there's that whole 'axis of evil' thing which I still don't get. There seems to be a lot of (annoyingly successful) PR work going into creating an emotional linkage between Iraq and 9/11, to the extent that I've seen people online who believe Iraq were responsible for the WTC bombing....

Posted by: Blatant Optimism at March 11, 2003 10:45 AM

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