In the five-year struggle to finish the war in Iraq, military leaders and their troops have said a particular weapon is among the most effective in their arsenal:
This is the first time I've heard about the 'struggle' to 'finish the war' in Iraq. Mostly it's been about Bush's struggle to keep it going forever. But I digress...
Soldiers walk the streets carrying thousands of dollars to pay Iraqis for doorways battered in American raids and limbs lost during firefights. Sheiks appeal to commanders to use larger pools of money locked away in Humvees and safes at military bases for new schools, health clinics, water treatment plants and generators, knowing that the military can bypass Iraqi and U.S. bureaucratic hurdles.
Army documents show that $48,000 was spent on 6,000 pairs of children's shoes; an additional $50,000 bought 625 sheep for people described in records as "starving poor locals" in a Baghdad neighborhood. Soldiers ordered $100,000 worth of dolls and $500,000 in action figures made to look like Iraqi Security Forces. About $14,250 was spent on "I Love Iraq" T-shirts. More than $75,000 sent a delegation to a women's and civil rights conference in Cairo. And $12,800 was spent for two pools to cool bears and tigers at Zawra Park Zoo in Baghdad.
Shoes and sheep I can dig, but action figures, t-shirts and animal cooling pools in a fucking war zone? Things must be going better than we think!
Time to bring the troops home. Just leave pallets of cash at strategic places and let the Iraqis help themselves. Shit, dollars aren't worth anything anyway. They're crankin' 'em out 24/7 on printing presses in China. As soon as they get the plates to print Euros, Iraq's economy will really take off!
This is a very long article, with a mixture of compassion and outrage, for me at least, on how we're (mis?)handling part of the giveaway of our children's and grandchildren's futures. Go read it, but one paragraph amused me a little in a grrrr! kinda way:
The tactic was similar to the way Hezbollah operates in Lebanon, said Koenig, who was an adviser to one of the Marine generals in charge of large-dollar CERP projects. "Hezbollah shows up after an Israeli airstrike with cash and fixes the neighborhood," he said. Iraqi insurgents, including al-Qaeda in Iraq, "never did that," he said. "They would come in and take charge of an area, but they didn't come back and say, 'We're going to help you out here.' "
I find it ironic that we're using Hezbollah tactics, with one big difference - we're doing the bombing and killing, then we're going in afterward and handing out cash.
Let's just drop the money and save the grief.