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Thursday, December 11, 2003
We Should Compromise on Contracts

By Steven Taylor @ 11:27 am

Said the President today:

“What I’m saying is, in the expenditure of the taxpayers’ money … the U.S. people, the taxpayers, understand why it makes sense for countries that risked lives to participate in the contracts in Iraq. It’s very simple. Our people risked their lives, friendly coalition folks risked their lives and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that.”

On one level, I can accept that logic. However, it strikes me that reconstruction contracts would be a great place for which the administration to compromise.

I understand, and largely support, being stubborn on military, security and governance issues, especially vis-a-vis the demands of the Germans, Russian and French. However, at some point we are going to have to give on some substantial point of contention.

This contract issue would seem to be the kind of thing that would help internationalize involvement in Iraq, and would have spillover effects into other areas of policy. For example, if their are Russian contractors on the ground, the Russian government might be more prone to help up with security.

This is a bad decision.

Source: Bush Defends Iraq Recontruction Policy

Filed under: Iraq

Click here to go to the main page.

9 Comments»

  1. Totally agree. In fact, my initial gut reaction was “well of course contracts go to those who fight.” But after reflection, it was obvious that if we really want international help we’ve got to dangle a carrot. This is a good, easy way to do this.

    Comment by Eric — Thursday, December 11, 2003 @ 11:48 am

  2. I strongly disagree. I understand your arguments about internationalizing this effort, BUT, if we let these nations have contracts after they refused to support us, it will send a strong message that any nation can thumb their noses at us, let us take all the military and political risks, then run in to collect the spoils. I say give the contracts to the countries that have their blood spilled there.

    I would make an exception for Canada since Canada did offer 180 Million which they are now threatening to withhold. Last I heard the French, Germans, and Russians were not offering a cent, nor agreeing to forgive any Iraqi debt. Bush pushed through a relief package for Iraq that was not a loan, again using his political capital.

    Comment by David — Thursday, December 11, 2003 @ 12:07 pm

  3. To be fair, the EU has ponied up some cash, the French and Germans are powerful members of said group.

    Still, sometimes you have to compromise.

    Comment by Steven — Thursday, December 11, 2003 @ 12:11 pm

  4. David, In the interests of freeing our troops up to fight other fights, it is imperative that we get free of Iraq. Getting international troops on the ground is a good way of doing that. Also, it helps heal rifts with countries whose help we need to break up international terrorist rings.

    Also, at this point no one has determined how much of the contracts have to be shared. Perhaps its only 10-15%. That’s still a fair amount of money to dangle while retaining most of the spoils for the victors.

    Comment by Eric — Thursday, December 11, 2003 @ 12:18 pm

  5. I think you missed a very important point. The reality is that we did put the contracts on the table as points to be negotiated. The other options available are 1) we just award contracts to whom we wish without telling the weasels they might as well not apply and 2)have truly open bidding with no restrictions on who may apply. In both cases their is no incentive for the weasels to not act like, well, weasels.

    Comment by Thomas Lowe — Thursday, December 11, 2003 @ 12:41 pm

  6. I agree with Thomas on the weasles. Bush’s PR problem again may be that he is too honest. France and Germany have engaged in nothing but anti-American obstructionism every step of the way, while trying to bully their weaker neighbors. A good compromise is letting them bottom feed for the sub-contracts, far as I’m concerned. The self-interested weasles aren’t the least bit concerned that Israel is also shut out of the contracts.

    Comment by d-rod — Thursday, December 11, 2003 @ 1:14 pm

  7. WOW! This is Bush PR problem????? Obviously some people don’t get it.

    Bush gets to go before the American taxpayer and tell them that we is not giving their tax money to people who did not help us during the war. That money is reserved for counties who spilled blood to help the people of Iraq. This is pure gold for Bush.

    It makes him look strong and his critics look like pacifist goofballs. (which they are) I can’t wait to see the poll numbers on this.

    This is brilliant policy and brilliant politics.

    The French and Germany had 2 years to join us. Paying them for snubbing their noses at us would be sheer stupidity.

    Sorry, Steven I agree with you most of the time, you are miles off base on this one.

    Comment by Paul — Thursday, December 11, 2003 @ 5:42 pm

  8. There are a whole lot of levels to anti-Americanism in the world, and hate-Bush sentiment represents a part of it. Your “pure gold for Bush” may backfire and translate as proof to their “blood for oil” mantra. We need to reduce the anti-Americanism that spawns terrorism and one front is the PR battle overseas. We are not winning that war yet, but I don’t think throwing money at them is going to do it, either.

    Comment by d-rod — Thursday, December 11, 2003 @ 7:45 pm

  9. Why compromise? And why do we have to be the ones who compromise? Why don’t the French/Germans/Russians have to compromise?

    I realize that I sound like a little kid saying that - but what the previous poster said is true - if we compromise, then we send the message loud and clear - you can thumb your nose at use, refuse to pay any of the costs associated with Iraq - and then we’ll come to you because we feel the need to “compromise".

    What exactly does compromise bring us?

    Comment by Mr. TidyBowl — Thursday, December 11, 2003 @ 11:12 pm

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