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Iraq War Anniversary Edition

Last week on Meet the Press, Karl Rove made the following astounding assertion:

“No one in the Bush Administration ever said the reconstruction of Iraq could be paid for with Iraqi oil revenues.”

Really? Are you F-ing kidding me? That little bit of revisionist history may fly with your neo-Conservative buddies, but here in the real world, that kind of BS flies like a drunken penguin on meth. MediaMatters was able to quickly dig up the following quote from then Deputy National Security Adviser Paul Wolfowitz within minutes of Rove’s assertion:

“The oil revenue of that country could bring between 50 and 100 billion dollars over the course of the next two or three years. We’re dealing with a country that could really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.

I noted last week the absurdity of Rove’s statement. I, and I’m sure you as well, recall Bush Administration officials repeatedly making that very assertion… that we needent worry about the cost of the war because Iraq would be able to finance its own reconstruction though the sale of its oil. I noted at the time that I expected that chewy little nugget from Rove to turn into a huge embarrassment as a tidal wave of Bush Administration quotes citing “Iraqi oil revenues” to finance their own reconstruction, were sure to follow.

So where are they? I guess it’s up to me.

A certain amount of “liars fatigue” has set in since Bush lied the country into an unnecessary war seven years ago this Saturday (March 20th), to the point where proving that a liar is lying seems like an awful waste of time & effort. But some things have to be done. Lies from these guys need to be squashed like a bug as fast as possible before the Right-Wing echo chamber turns them into “common knowledge”. A quick Google News Archive search turned up the following quotes:
 

  • ”Oil will be the engine of Iraq’s reconstruction,” said Gregg Sullivan, a spokesman for the State Department, which has set up working groups to develop plans for a post-Hussein Iraq. ”No one is talking about a Marshall Plan for Iraq because oil will take care of that.”PETROLEUM; Stable World Oil Prices Are Likely to Become a War Casualty, Experts Say, New York Times, Oct. 2, 2002
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  • WASHINGTON — The Bush administration says the U.S. won’t be faced with a huge bill for reconstruction of post-war Iraq, in large part because Iraq’s oil wells can be tapped to help defray the costs.
     
    […]
     
    When Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld went before the House and Senate spending panels to lobby for the money last week, he made it clear that he believes the cost of reconstructing Iraq should not fall to the United States. That bill should be paid by allies, Iraq’s seized assets and Iraq’s oil revenues, he said.
     
    “I don’t believe that the United States has the responsibility for reconstruction,” Rumsfeld said. – “Bush’s plan to rebuild Iraq using oil revenues met with skepticism” – St. Louis Post Dispatch, Apr. 1, 2003
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  • WASHINGTON – To hear some Bush Administration officials tell it, the reconstruction of Iraq will largely pay for itself, thanks to a post-war gusher of petroleum revenue.
     
    “The one thing that is certain is Iraq is a wealthy nation,” White House Press Secretary Ari Fleisher said.
     
    […]
     
    Office of Management & Budget Director Mitchell Daniels Jr. asserted that oil and gas revenues would provide “abundant” resources for reconstruction. – “Oil May Not Shore Up Iraq“, LA Herald Tribune, Apr. 5, 2003
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  • The United States took its postwar plans for Iraq to the United Nations on Friday, […] U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte introduced the eight-page resolution in a closed Security Council meeting on behalf of the three cosponsors, the United States, Britain and Spain. […The United States] would take control over Iraq’s vast oil revenues away from the United Nations and give it to the U.S.-led coalition that ousted Saddam Hussein’s regime. The money would finance the country’s reconstruction — with international oversight. – “U.S. wants to lift sanctions on Iraq”, USA Today, May 9, 2003

But by September, the damage Iraq sustained in the invasion quickly revealed the country was in worse shape than (they) anticipated, and the war that we were told “would only cost $1 Billion dollars” now had the Bush Administration before Congress begging for a whopping $87 Billion dollars to help finance Iraq’s reconstruction. (Remember when that was considered a lot of money? That’s before the Bushies introduced us to figures like $700B to bail out Wall Street.)

Iraq’s newly appointed “Viceroy” (and Cheney protege’) L. Paul Bremmer appeared before Congress to ask for more money:

SEN. BYRON DORGAN: Why would we not use the Iraq oil revenues to collateralize loans from the IMF or the World Bank to pay for the reconstruction of Iraq?
 
L. PAUL BREMER: I believe it would be a mistake to lay any more debt onto the backs of the Iraqis. They are under a burden, an extraordinary burden, about roughly $100 to $120 billion of debt, entered into by Saddam’s regime over the last 20 years or so, and another $90 to $100 billion in claimed reparations from countries because of Saddam’s wars. – PBS News Hour, Sept. 22, 2003

But that didn’t stop other Bush officials from CONTINUING to suggest some of Iraq’s oil revenues would eventually go towards their reconstruction:

  • Last week, appearing again before the Senate committee, [Secretary of Defense] Mr. Rumsfeld said, ”I don’t think I did misjudge” Iraq’s oil capacity. According to current projections, he said, the country’s oil revenues will grow to $12 billion next year from $2 billion this year; they should reach $19 billion in 2005 and $20 billion in 2006.
     
    ”So, their oil revenues will be contributing,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. – New York Times, “THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: RECONSTRUCTION; Report Offered Bleak Outlook About Iraq Oil” – Oct.5, 2003
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  • Evans was asked about Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz’s comments to Congress in March that Iraq could finance its own reconstruction. […] Evans said if Iraq’s oil production increases and world oil prices jump substantially, such figures would be possible. – Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans, appearing on CNN’s “Late Edition”, Oct. 20, 2003
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  • [A]dministration officials emphasized that the money pledged here [$33 Billion from Congress] would be supplemented by future pledges and by $15 billion in oil revenues from 2005 to 2007, assuming that the Iraqi oil industry gets back on its feet. – New York Times, Oct. 25, 2003
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  • Almost $9bn (£4.7bn) of Iraqi oil revenue is missing from a fund set up to reconstruct the country.
     
    The BBC’s File On 4 programme has learnt that out of over $20bn raised in oil revenues during US-led rule, the use of $8.8bn is unaccounted for. – “Iraq reconstruction funds missing”, BBC News, Jan. 30, 2005

No one in the Bush Administration ever said the reconstruction of Iraq could be paid for with Iraqi oil revenues? Really Mr. Rove? The motto of “Mugsy’s Rap Sheet” and its accompanying video archive on YouTube: “Recording history for those who seek to rewrite it”. Sometimes, this blog seems to exist specifically for the likes of Rove and Cheney.
 


 

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