(David Mansdoerfer) – A couple of days ago, Representative Dana Rohrabacher mentioned, “once Iraq becomes a very rich and prosperous country…we would hope that some consideration be given to repaying the United States some of the mega-dollars that we have spent here in the last eight years.”
For his ‘audacious’ comments, he received a nice letter from the Iraqi government asking him, and the rest of his delegation, to quickly depart and never come back.
Rep. Rohrabacher went on to note, “we were hoping that there would be a consideration of a payback because the United States right now is in close to a very serious economic crisis and we could certainly use some people to care about our situation as we have cared about theirs.”
I, for one, think Rep. Rehrabacher is on the right track.
To date, the United States taxpayer has spent nearly $45 billion on various programs to help in the reconstruction of Iraq. Let us remember, in 2002, before the invasion, Iraq’s GDP was $20.5 billion and stood at a GDP per capita of $802. As of 2010, Iraq’s GDP stood at roughly $85 billion with a GDP per capita of about $2,600.
Is this really a ‘stupid’ idea? I mean, over the last eight years, with U.S. guidance and money, Iraq’s GDP has doubled and its GDP per capita has nearly tripled.
Ever since the end of World War 2, the United States has subsidized the safety of its allies. For instance, Europe, which has benefited from U.S. troops and is looking to benefit immensely from a projected U.S. backed missile defense shield, has been able to use all of the money they would have normally been spending on defense to provide entitlement programs for their citizens.
Now, while the U.S. in the midst of the worst economic recession since the great depression, and actively pursuing military action in three countries, the United States is spending more money than everyone else in the world combined subsidizing the safety of its allies.
By no means is Rep. Rohrabacher expecting the Iraqi government to pay back even a fraction of the money the U.S. has spent on reconstruction efforts. He is, however, setting the precedent that if the United States is going to put blood, sweat and money into helping you out, you should at least show the courtesy of offering to pick up the tip at least.
No one wants to go to dinner with someone who won’t at least go for his wallet when the check is put on the table.
Representative Rohrabacher understands this. For this, he should be applauded.
(Mr. Mansdoerfer is the Director of Federal Affairs for Citizen Outreach)