Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Iraq's so called Debt

The Iraqi people owe very little to anyone that borrowed money to Saddam. Those lenders took the chance that Saddam would stay in power long enough to pay them back. Saddam used the money he owed to build palaces, payoff his supporters and suppress the Iraqi dissenters. Very little of that money actually benefited the Iraqi people. It should come as no surprise that the three countries owed the most money by Saddam are the three countries that were the most vocal opponents to the war, France, Germany and Russia, the Tri-Pirates.

The all voted for and signed the UN sanctions of Saddam's Iraq. They all violated the sanctions for profit. They all knew Saddam's days were numbered. They continued to trade with and support Saddam's despotic regime even though his murdering of hundreds of thousands of his people was widely reported. Some of the trade was military goods, banned by the UN sanctions and used against Iraqis and coalition soldiers. Their profits and the debt they want Iraq to pay, is blood money. Any attempts to collect on these debts before the Iraqis have full self-governance, should be rebuffed by the Coalition.

As soon as the Iraqis are able, they should declare the debt an "odious debt". This means the current elected government believes that the debt incurred by the previous dictatorial regime died with the overthrow of that regime. The Iraqis should leave open an avenue of appeal for these lenders to prove that certain loans did in fact aid the Iraqi people and those loans should be repaid. These appeals would have to wait until the new government is up and running, giving Iraq time to begin generating income.

Which brings us to the money recovered from regime officials by coalition troops. This amount totals the tens of millions and the countries owed money can asked to be paid with that money at least. I would not argue with that, but they would need to get into line with the other injured parties and prove that the Iraqi people benefited from the debt owed. Again these issues would have to wait until a later date.

There is another rule of lending which is, you never lend out funds that you cannot afford to write off.

The Tri-Pirates need to quit their crying. They have nothing to cry about. They never lived under the Saddam regime.


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