With oil prices at or near all-time highs, it has become increasingly apparent that Iraq is closer than ever to financial independence. With the extreme property damage caused by an invasion of questionable legality, the need for security and reconstruction monies is great, but who should be held accountable?
Many US taxpayers are becoming disenchanted, due to the fact that, with nearly $33 billion in oil earnings in the first half of 2008, Iraq is now capable of shouldering an increased share of the burden. Our own economy is floundering, and many simply feel that it is time for Iraq to step up and assume control over its own destiny. Still others believe that it was we who caused the damage, whether directly or indirectly, and should continue to fund the majority of relief efforts.
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The Government Accountability Office avoided commenting on who should pay what, but estimates that Iraq's total oil earnings for this year could reach $80 billion, twice its average amount for the past three years. A spokesperson from the GAO said: "This substantial increase in revenues offers the Iraqi government the potential to better finance its own security and finance needs."
On the other side of the coin, a response came from one of Iraq's chief treasury officials, stating: "The pace of spending has been held back by various factors, including deficiencies in capacity and security" He went on to note that through April of this year, Iraq spent $10.8 billion dollars; that's more than twice what was spent in the same period last year. So in fact, Iraq is accepting more responsibility, though it may not be coming at a quick enough pace.
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The day of financial independence for Iraq is approaching, however, it is safe to assume that, for the time being, Americans will continue to pay for the decisions made by our current administration in the Middle East.
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