Matt Towery

There comes a time when even passionate conservative partisans must say enough to pure insanity. That time has come.

Doubtless the bleached-blonde, "liberals-are-bad" authors and pretty-boy TV pundit robots will find a way to defend even this. Everybody else -- especially the everybodies who work hard and pay taxes -- will surely be outraged.

Following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, the American government hatched a plan to bring order to anarchic Iraq. The United States would take the monetary value of confiscated oil and frozen financial assets from Hussein's government and turn it into $12 billion in cash to be distributed across Iraq to those ministries deemed fit to make good and proper use of it for the restoration of order.

Now hear this: The money was mostly $100 bills, bundled and stacked on warehouse pallets, and shipped into a war zone!

Clearly, obviously, Washington's concepts of both money and common sense have descended to the level of psychosis.

Naturally, nobody now knows whom the money went to. Only that it's gone.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a document this week saying much of the money may have been lost "due to corruption and waste." You don't say!

Americans of any or no political leaning should be apoplectic. "Designed to keep and restore order"? Who do they think they're fooling? This was play money to the idiots who rushed in to "bring democracy to Iraq" without a clue how to do it.

Defense No. 1 of this travesty will be that it wasn't "taxpayer money," but ill-gotten funds from Hussein.

That may be, but it sure looked like American dollars in the photographs of it being shipped to points unknown in Iraq. Besides, now that most of it has vanished, and apparently done not a whit of good, guess where the lost cash must come from to keep trying to restore and rebuild Iraq. You guessed it -- you and me.

Get this: It's estimated that the average Iraqi family income was about $800 a year right after the war started, and now it may be down to about $400. We would have done better to line up all 25 million or so Iraqis and put $500 in each of their hands, and to have then taken the remainder for airfare home!

"Oh," some will say, "that would have been putting money into the hands of insurgents."

As opposed to now, where much of the money has undoubtedly gone to them anyway? It's even possible that more has landed in the hands of our enemies with the way it was actually distributed, because huge chunks of the cash may well have been stolen in one fell swoop. Who really knows? There's not bad accounting of this game. There's no accounting at all.

Is my counter-idea stupid? Of course it is.

So how is it different from our government planners' idea? Mine is only a word game. Theirs was actually carried out, right in the midst of the dense fog of war.

It appears the new Democratic Congress wants to make former U.S. administrator in Iraq L. Paul Bremer the primary scapegoat for this and the other failures of the initial post-invasion leadership.

But a smellier fish is in the stew. Bremer's bloated thinking is the (ill-) logical extension of Washington's entrenched mentality; that money -- mountains of money -- is merely a chess piece in an elitist board game during which they not only move the pieces, but rewrite the rules as they go.

If President Bush wasn't aware of this foolhardy plan, or of its fiscally catastrophic outcome, then he should have been. And he should have acted.

Any Republican or conservative who tries to defend this sort of Alice-in-Wonderland indulgence has either glutted on partisan Kool-Aid, or is selling books and starring on talk shows aimed at the idiotic readers and viewers who have.

Last year I noted that Americans wanted the "Fair Tax" plan proposed by Rep. John Linder, R-Georgia, and championed by author and syndicated talk show host Neal Boortz.

If people were ready for tax reform then, imagine the reaction when they learn that $12 billion has disappeared like a mirage in the Iraqi desert.

Wait, I've got it! A way to track down all that cash. Reassign the Internal Revenue Service agents now on the trail of hard-working Americans, and instead send them to Iraq to work their forensic magic "over there."


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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