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Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The "$79 billion surplus"

Barack Obama: "We're spending $10 billion a month in Iraq at a time when the Iraqis have a $79 billion surplus, $79 billion."

Joe Biden: "We're spending $10 billion a month while Iraqis have an $80 billion surplus. Barack says it's time for them to spend their own money."

The Democrats have been doing their best to pin the "blame" for the "failure" in Iraq on the Iraqis for quite some time; the current attempt to turn their "antiwar" [sic] position into a "the Iraqis should pay for the war" position is just the latest variant. But now the Iraqi finance minister has come along and punctured their balloon:

The Iraqi finance minister said reports of a billion-dollar budget surplus amid massive U.S. spending on the war effort are misleading.

Speaking with the Council on Foreign Relations, Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabr Solagh said August reports of a budget surplus of as much as $79 billion through 2008 fail to take into account the true nature of the Iraqi financial system.

"The surplus or the excess in money that people talk about is money that was not spent (in August)," he said. "We are spending it now through the budget process."

The minister said the budget surplus is at the Iraqi Central Bank and not the development fund for reconstruction in New York. Solagh said the Central Bank deposits, which total no more than $30 billion, are used to back the Iraqi currency.

"It is not surplus; it is the federal reserve," he said. "It is the reserve of Iraq. That means we cannot have a fixed currency without it."

He noted further that U.S. officials are not spending American taxpayer money in support of the Iraqi people, but funnel most of the money toward military support.

"Americans, they don't give the Iraqi budget or the Iraqi government any money directly. They spend it on their own military salaries, weapons. This is the money; it's not going to the government," he said.
Sorry, Democrats, you'll have to find another bogeyman. Or else actually oppose the war and occupation.

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