Monday, September 26, 2005

Noble $600, or the Chargecard of the Light Brigade

Call it democracy in action--efforts to privatize the rebuilding of Iraq have netted a whopping six hundred bucks:

An extraordinary appeal to Americans from the Bush administration for money to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq has raised only $600 (£337), The Observer has learnt. Yet since the appeal was launched earlier this month, donations to rebuild New Orleans have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars.

The public's reluctance to contribute much more than the cost of two iPods to the administration's attempt to offer citizens 'a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq' has been seized on by critics as evidence of growing ambivalence over that country.

This coincides with concern over the increasing cost of the war. More than $30 billion has been appropriated for the reconstruction. Initially, America's overseas aid agency, USaid, expected it to cost taxpayers no more than $1.7bn, but it is now asking the public if they want to contribute even more.

It is understood to be the first time that a US government has made an appeal to taxpayers for foreign aid money. Contributors have no way of knowing who will receive their donations or even where they may go, after officials said details had be kept secret for security reasons.

USaid's Heather Layman denied it was disappointed with the meagre sum raised after a fortnight. 'Every little helps,' she said.


Two whole iPods...

And in the ongoing clusterfuck, it appears that it doesn't matter how newly painted a school is--vicious, violent death can crop up just the same:

A group of armed men burst into a primary school in a town south of Baghdad today, rounded up five teachers, marched them to an empty classroom and executed them, a police official said. All of those killed were Shiite.

School was just getting out in Muilha, a suburb of Iskandariya, a town about 30 miles south of Baghdad, when about 10 gunmen dressed in police uniforms entered the building at 1:15 p.m. and shot the teachers, all men. As the gunmen fled the building, they also shot and killed the teachers' driver, who was waiting outside to take them home.


Apropos to the post below, the only thing left is for Dumsfeld or Dubya to dismiss this, or even ascribe the inane label "temporary setback" to yet another sign of imminent civil war. James Wolcott wrote about the upcoming tragedy yesterday, and it seems as if the only folks denying reality are those associated with the administration. Well, at least they're showing consistency: they were in denial as hurricane Katrina all but delivered a calling card announcing the upcoming pounding of NOLA.

But...back to the title of this post...six hundred bucks. That's it. Wingnuts are not merely chickenhawks--they're stingy ones at that.

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