Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

Cornyn: Iraq’s Massive $79 Billion Surplus Is A Success Of Bush’s Policies

Posted on  

"Cornyn: Iraq’s Massive $79 Billion Surplus Is A Success Of Bush’s Policies"

Share:

google plus icon

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are upset over a new Government Accountability Office report showing that the “soaring price of oil will leave the Iraqi government with a cumulative budget surplus of as much as $79 billion by year’s end.” Since 2003, U.S. taxpayers have spent $42 billion for the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq. In contrast, the Iraqi government has allocated $28 billion for similar improvements, but has spent less than $4 billion.

Today on CNN, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tried to spin these facts as good news and a vindication of the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq:

BLITZER: Sen. Cornyn, there are a lot of Americans who feel that the Iraqis are playing the U.S. for suckers.

CORNYN: Well, I think, you know, we’ve fought long and hard to get to this position where now there is a hope that Iraq can govern and defend itself, Wolf. If we had simply quit as Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Obama wanted us to do early on, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. There wouldn’t even be the hope of a self-governing democracy of an Arab world in the Middle East. This ought to be a subject of negotiations between two sovereign powers.

But as Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) pointed out, Iraq’s surplus actually shows the failure of the Bush administration’s policies in holding the Iraqi government accountable, politically. “If we would have had our way we would have had a reasonable timetable for the redeployment of most of our troops which would have put pressure on the Iraqi government to do what they are not doing,” said Levin, “which is essential to end the conflict in Iraq and that is to work out a political settlement among themselves.” Watch it:

Paul Wolfowitz told the American people in 2003 that Iraq would be able to “finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.” Five years later, the Bush administration continues to spend billions of U.S. taxpayer money instead. As Matt Duss noted at the Wonk Room, the administration has “committed tens of billions of American dollars to various Iraqi construction projects with no real plan for how all of it’s supposed to add up to a stable Iraqi state.”

Levin has also said that he is “seeking a provision in the defense authorization bill that would preclude spending U.S. funds on large-scale infrastructure projects in Iraq, defined as a those that exceed $2 million.” Today on CNN, Cornyn said he supported that measure.

Digg It!

Transcript:

BLITZER: Sen. Cornyn, there are a lot of Americans who feel that the Iraqis are playing the U.S. for suckers.

CORNYN: Well, I think, you know, we’ve fought long and hard to get to this position where now there is a hope that Iraq can govern and defend itself, Wolf. If we had simply quit as Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Obama wanted us to do early on, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. There wouldn’t even be the hope of a self-governing democracy of an Arab world in the Middle East. This ought to be a subject of negotiations between two sovereign powers.

I agree with Sen. Levin that Iraqis need to bear more financial responsibility and that’s why I hope we do get that provision passed in early September.

BLITZER: Go ahead and respond to the charge that if you and others like Sen. Obama, for example, would have had your way, this discussion right now about Iraqi oil surpluses and what to do with it wouldn’t even be a subject for discussion?

LEVIN: Well, if we would have had our way we would have had a reasonable timetable for the redeployment of most of our troops which would have put pressure on the Iraqi government to do what they are not doing which is essential to end the conflict in Iraq and that is to work out a political settlement among themselves. They were supposed to have elections which is a critical part of that settlement on Oct. 1, and instead of doing that, they again are doing nothing to resolve these key political differences on Iraqi elections.

BLITZER: But Sen. Levin, there has been a very dramatic drop in the number of U.S. troops killed and injured and there has been progress on the military side.

LEVIN: There has been on the military side, but the purpose of the surge was to give the Iraqis the breathing room, that was the argument, so that they could work out their political settlements. They must take political responsibility, economic responsibility, and military responsibility for their own country.

They are not doing that, so while the violence has been reduced, thank god, it’s not going to stay that way unless there is a political settlement, and instead of reaching those agreements on how to divide their resources, and on keeping their promise to have elections on Oct. 1, which are so essential to a political settlement, they are now not doing what they promised us they would do. We’ve got to keep the pressure on the Iraqis.

Tags:

« »

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.