Republican Foreign Policy: Make a Profit on Destruction, Make a Profit on Reconstruction

I can’t remember where I asked it, but several weeks ago I asked who was going to pay for Lebanon’s reconstruction. Some in the thread mused that we, the American taxpayers, would pay for it. Well, wouldn’t you know:

The Bush administration is scrambling to assemble a plan to helprebuild Lebanon, hoping that by competing with Hezbollah for thepublic’s favor it can undo the damage the war has inflicted on itsimage and goals for the Middle East.

Administration officials fear that unless they move quickly todemonstrate U.S. commitment, the Lebanese will turn more fully to themilitant group, which has begun rolling out an ambitious reconstructionprogram that Washington believes is bankrolled by Iran.

"Scrambling to assemble a plan to helprebuild." Those Lebanese who watched Katrina on the TV or who have heard from cousins in Iraq are no doubt reading those words with dread. And any number of campaign donors probably just heard the lovely ring of "Ka ching!"

  1. Anonymous says:

    It does seem like it would be cheaper and easier to pay the contractors only the amount they’d make in profit, and then have an inspector general issue a report in a year or so saying that they’d cheated the taxpayers, but they wouldn’t suffer any penalty and would still be eligible for future contracts.

    Just skip that whole step of wasting a lot of money on equipment and travel and looking busy on-site while they accomplish next to nothing.

    Kind of like a version of old-style farm price supports, but for corruption…

  2. Anne says:

    Oh, for crying out loud – could we put the Gulf Coast back together first? Could we fix the Medicare prescription drug program so that it really works? Could we put money back into student loan programs? Could we put a few bucks into port security?

    Am just sick of the government being used as a get-rich program for the presdident’s and VP’s friends…

    Maybe we should just give Bush and Cheney each a fiddle and plunk them down in the middle of the chaos and see what kind of tune they can play for us…

  3. William Ockham says:

    Wait a minute, I’ve seen this movie. It’s â€The Mouse that Roaredâ€. Only this time, it’s real and not very funny. These people make me sick at my stomach.

  4. freepatriot says:

    yo, emptywheel, off topic here

    any idea what’s up with DKOS ???

    the front page is loading reeeeaaaaaaalllly slow on dialup

    is anybody at DKOS aware of this problem ???

    could you maybe do some interblog messaging about this problem for me ???

  5. Larry says:

    heres a novel approach….

    Whatever $ we spend, perhaps squander would be a better word, anyway that same sum should be deducted from the $ we give Israel….

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lebanon has its own versions of Halliburton et al. Doubt the Bushies have the standing to get their boys the inside track. Bush may want in on reconstruction of Lebanon, but I doubt his donors get to run the rip offs.

    Lebanon had just been reconstructed: that’s what the prominence of Saad Hariri was all about. He was the wheeler-dealer who put together the previous reconstruction. His sponsors and the core profiteers were the Saudis and other emirates that ended up owning a lot of the infrastructure. I would expect the same guys to edge out Halliburton again. They simply have the inside track on the graft spigot.

    BTW, in June, many Lebanese, Christians as well as Shias, had no kind words for the assasinated Hariri. He was viewed as giving away the national store. His son and heir, Rafik, was out of the country during the recent bombing — I imagine, despite great wealth, his political pull weakened a lot as Hisbollah established itself as more effective than the government.

  7. Sara says:

    Apparently it is going to cost at least 200 million just to clean up the oil spill caused by the bombing of the oil bunkers in the harbor. BBC had a bit last night about the oil slick — larger than the Valdeze apparently — that is moving along the coast north toward Syrian and Turkish beaches, and likely then to move into the Greek Islands. The EU has called a meeting tomorrow in Athens to pledge toward an environmental clean-up. At risk — the entire Eastern Med. Fishing Industry, plus much tourism.

    But it sure looks to me like this mess totally stopped Hezbollah in its tracks. Must say however, it does seem as if out pin-point bombs could use a few small improvements!!!

    Maybe we could get a campaign picture out of it — nice Greek Island scene with a very sexy young female â€Grecian†(what George calls them) cleaning black goop off a fetching sea bird — with the line, George smears the oil around a bit. Matches his table manners.

  8. Mimikatz says:

    Janinsanfran is right. Lebanon is a )mostly) functioning country that just got done reubuilding itself without our help. The Saudis and other ME folks financed it. Our companies aren’t going to be able to go in there and compete.

    The oil slick sounds horrible. If it does foul the beaches in the eastern Med, especially Greece, there are going to be a lot of unhappy people. Israel should pay, of course, but won’t. Still, it can’t have enhanced their standing.

    People who are at such a demographic disadvantage should really be careful how many enemies they make.

  9. Fledermaus says:

    My favorite line – and I’d love to hear it from some canidates this fall:

    â€We’re spending money over there so we don’t have to spend it hereâ€

  10. Dismayed says:

    EW – I’m with you on this. I don’t think for one minute they care about rebuilding anything. It just another excuse to hand our money over to the usual suspects. Will this never end, and will the public never wise up? Today Dick Cheney said, ‘‘Here in the U.S. we have not had another 9-11,’’ the vice president said. ‘‘No one can guarantee we will not be hit again. But the relative safety in recent years is not an accident.’’ I just wanted to YAK. That’s like the thief who says â€I didn’t cut your throat twice.†DICK! – The most damaging Attack ever on American Soil Happened on you Douchbag’s shift. It was preventably, you were warned, and you did nothing. You get NO credit for the fact that the largest attack on American soil hasn’t happened TWICE. How do you know when a member of the Cheney administration is lying? – His lips are moving. ARRRRG.

  11. ab initio says:

    Hezbollah leads work to rebuild.

    Nehme Y. Tohme, a member of Parliament from the anti-Syrian reform bloc and the country’s minister for the displaced, said he had been told by Hezbollah officials that when the shooting stopped, Iran would provide Hezbollah with an “unlimited budget†for reconstruction.

    In his victory speech on Monday night, Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, offered money for “decent and suitable furniture†and a year’s rent on a house to any Lebanese who lost his home in the month-long war.

    “Completing the victory,†he said, “can come with reconstruction.â€

    Even if Bush could come up with the money and deliver it Lebanon, who would manage the construction projects and gain kudos for the US? Its just not going to happen. The Lebanese will be happy to take our cash but with Hezbollah spearheading a real construction and services program with Iranian money they will insure the â€hearts and minds†benefits will accrue to them.

    Have any of you noticed photos from Lebanon with banners hanging on devastated buildings â€courtesy of the USAâ€?

    The outcome of this conflict is that the myth of US/Israeli military deterrence is now shattered and Nasrallah has become a hero in the Arab street transcending both Sunni and Shia sects.

  12. DonnaJ says:

    The US could still rebuild Iraqi/NOLA style in Lebanon. They would make Halliburton and Bectel the middleman to subcontract. That way they get the billion dollars to hand the Lebanese a couple hundred thousand.

    Please be serious people, Bush and Cheney never cared about hearts and minds before, otherwise there would have been actual rebuilding in Iraq and NOLA. They also don’t care about hearts and minds in Lebanon, just their talking points. They can say they gave a billion to reconstruction in my scenario and pretend they give a damn while enriching the usual suspects just like they always do.

  13. zilver says:

    I wonder if, instead of dropping bombs we parachutted crates with new refridgerators, mountain bikes, compound mitre saws and cordless drills. Just think what you could put in these crates. How many people could each crate effect? And how much stuff could you give away before you equal the cost of one bomb. What would happen if you gave somthing of value that would improve lives, instead of ruin and destroy them?

  14. knut wicksell says:

    It seems to me that it would be more efficient to pay off the contractors for damages that could be expected in the event of a war, and just skip the war. That would cut out the middleman, not to mention deaths, injury and general physical destruction.