Saddam’s Exile Deal Could Have Saved $6 Trillion
Iraqi leader offered to go to Egypt for a paltry $1 billion; Bush should have accepted Hussein’s plan
By Ralph Forbes
How did we get from a “profitable” war against Iraq to a $6 trillion swirling black hole that threatens to flush the United States and the world down the drain? Follow the dollars. Follow the lies:
One month before the invasion of Iraq, Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar met with President Bush in Crawford, Tex., Feb. 22, 2003, to beg him, on behalf of European leaders, not to start a war.
The Egyptians made a deal with Saddam Hussein to go into exile to avoid a devastating war against Iraq. Saddam wanted a payment of $1 billion and, for insurance, to keep all the information about how the neocons had supplied him with his weapons of mass destruction. Bush quipped that sending Saddam into exile would save the American people $50 billion for the costs of the war.
That “$50 billion” was a lie. White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey was fired in 2002 for daring to predict the war might cost $200 billion.
Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, testified to Congress on March 27, 2003 that oil revenue from Iraq would pay for the Iraq war. “The oil revenues of [Iraq] could bring between $50 billion and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years,” he said. “We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.”
When Wolfowitz and the neocons were peddling the tale that Iraqi oil would lower the price of gas, oil was selling for around $20-25 per barrel.
Five years after “mission accomplished,” it is over $100 per barrel and gasoline is $3.50 and more per gallon and rising—as the value of the dollar plummets.
This is great for oil companies reaping record billion dollar profits. The House of Saud and the House of Bush, along with the contractors (and of course Israel), are the only beneficiaries of this war.
The Congressional Budget Office estimate for the cost of the war so far is $500 billion. That figure appeared unbelievably low to Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Memorial Prize winner for economics and the chief economist at the World Bank, who is critical of globalism. Linda Bilmes, lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Univ., agreed. In 2005 they researched the facts and published a report in January 2006 showing the true cost for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was between $1 trillion and $2 trillion.
An outraged Bush blasted Stiglitz and Bilmes, sneering, “We don’t go to war on the calculations of green-eye-shaded accountants or economists.”
Another CBO report put war costs at $604 billion. Adjusted for inflation, that $604 billion is higher than the costs of the Korea and Vietnam conflicts, according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (AFP, March 24, 2008).
Stiglitz and Bilmes discovered, after months of chasing often deliberately obscured accounts, Bush’s Iraqi-Afghan adventure will cost America—just America—a conservatively estimated $3 trillion. But don’t forget, it will cost the rest of the world at least another $3 trillion.
These findings are published in a 192-page exposé, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict, available at libraries and bookstores. Freelance writer Ralph Forbes can be contacted via email at [email protected]
(Issue # 13, March 31, 2008)