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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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April 16, 2008 9:48 AM

Reichert, others, want Iraq to pay for rebuilding -- UPDATED

Posted by David Postman

Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, and Connecticut Republican Rep. Christopher Shays want Iraqis to pay for reconstruction of their war-damaged country. The two House moderates introduced a resolution yesterday that says

it is the sense of the House of Representatives that funding for future Iraq reconstruction initiatives and training of Iraqi security forces should come from Iraqi revenues, and if the government of Iraq cannot properly allocate and spend its revenues, any funding from the United States to Iraq for reconstruction and security training should be provided as a loan to Iraq.

The resolution says that Iraq earned $41 billion from oil sales last year and over $10 billion in the first two months of this year. Shays said in a statement:

It is unacceptable that Iraqis are accumulating billions of dollars in accounts from oil revenues and the United States spends billions of dollars on Iraq’s defense and economic development.

Reichert has been a strong supporter of the Bush administration’s Iraq strategy. But the resolution says that after the United States has spent more than $500 billion “to free the citizens of Iraq,” it’s time for the Iraqi government to lead the nation to “stability, peace and prosperity by paying for the reconstruction of their infrastructure.”

This appears to be a trend among Republicans in the House and Senate, with some Democrats joining the effort, too.

UPDATE: A spokesman for Reichert's Democratic challenger, Darcy Burner, says the "sense of Congress" resolution is an empty gesture. Sandeep Kaushik says by e-mail:

It is true that the costs of this war, which Congressman Reichert has enthusiastically supported at every step, to the American taxpayer are enormous -- more than $10 billion every single month. Every family of four in the district is already on the hook for $16,500, and that number grows daily. Meanwhile, gas prices are rising, our economy is sinking, and our military is being ground down. If we want to help the American taxpayer, the real path forward is to bring this war to a responsible close, which is why we have offered a detailed plan to do that. ... And it focuses on actually passing key pieces of existing legislation, not just mouthing platitudes or offering empty resolutions, which is why it has been endorsed by leading generals and national security experts, and by more than 50 House and Senate candidates around the country.

THURSDAY UPDATE: Reichert Chief of Staff Mike Shields says that more than half -- 54 percent to be precise -- of Burner's plan has been supported by Reichert. He said by e-mail:

Additionally, her plan is based upon and mentions throughout the Iraq Study Group. You may remember, Dave was an early proponent of the Iraq Study Group before it had even made its recommendations - and Darcy Burner attacked him at the time on his Iraq position. Further, Dave cosponsored legislation to make the ISG recommendations law in the House. How is this "empty platitudes?" Her plan calls for an immediate withdrawal of troops. Recently the Democrat Co-Chairman of the Iraq Study Group, Lee Hamilton, flat out said he thought that was a bad idea. Her plan then says we should pump more U.S. taxpayer dollars into the black hole that our leaving will create. This announcement by Reichert amounts to the opposite of that: keep troops there to provide security, and force Iraq to stand up its economy and pay its own way. That's a big difference in the two approaches.

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Posted by Particle Man

11:41 AM, Apr 16, 2008

Reichert, has been silent on this key issue for five years. I smell a skunk.

Posted by Bob-o

12:28 PM, Apr 16, 2008

Sure, why not... we go in and destroy their country and then make them pay to fix it. Sorry, but we broke it, we bought it... and WE must fix it. All of those deluded congress members who voted to invade Iraq without believable support of a threat, they now need to pony up and fix what they broke. Yes, its our tax money, but its the correct thing to do, and the state of the economy does not, last I checked, change what is right and what is wrong. Unless we are trying to get to a right by committing two wrongs.

I guess for an ex Sheriff, this tactic makes sense. He's used to having his troops breaking down doors, rummaging through a persons possessions and then having the person have to clean up the mess themselves.

Posted by Daniel K

1:31 PM, Apr 16, 2008

I couldn't say it better than Bob-o did, so I won't.

Posted by NoToDarcy

1:35 PM, Apr 16, 2008

DB is a typical liberal, nothing positive to add just wants to criticize and tear down. She's pretty typical, actually, of the Microsoft culture...

Posted by Mike in Seattle

5:16 PM, Apr 16, 2008

Did Congressman Reichert run this position by Darcy? She has written the strategy for the handling of Iraq based upon her vast foreign policy experience. Lets hope Reichert does not get in the way of her adventures!

Posted by evergreen_representative

9:20 PM, Apr 16, 2008

To paraphrase the esteemed congressman from Texas, Ron Paul: "destroying bridges and then spending money to re-build them is ridiculous."

This was an unwarranted war of aggression started by our government, namely, Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Rice and Co., which destroyed a great number of lives, on all sides, and the remaining infrastructure of Iraq that wasn't destroyed during the 1991 war. Our government caused this catastrophe, this tragic human misery, and the destruction of a nation. The American people have a responsibility to help Iraq re-build their nation, and at the same time demand that our government ends the occupation.

Posted by evergreen_representative

9:43 PM, Apr 16, 2008

Post-script: (to earlier evergreen_representative post)

"Our government" - whether we voted for the crooks or not.

Posted by evergreen_representative

10:10 PM, Apr 16, 2008


The Burner Campaign statement that Reichert's move is an "empty gesture" is a non-response. Does she agree with Reichert or not? C. Mark Greene, the other challenger, does not agree with Reichert. As a nation, we have a moral responsibility to economically assist in the re-building of Iraq.

Posted by Quincy

10:58 PM, Apr 16, 2008

can iraq pay to rebuild the viaduct, too?

Posted by Bill

3:52 AM, Apr 17, 2008

Hillary voted for the war. Her and Bubba have raked in over $100 million over the past few years. They should pay an inordinate amount. Ah right, she's a DeMoralizecrat and a chick so she gets a pass.

Posted by Mike of Bellevue

6:33 AM, Apr 17, 2008

Empty Gesture? No Way!!! This is a very responsible way to help move this war along. We know that we can't just dump and run (well, most of America knows this). At this point, even if you don't value liberty, it would be an irresponsible thing to do.

However, making the Iraqis responsible for their own war will help them want a better place, as well. When they are not having to pay for most of the war, they are not willing to keep the goals that they promised.

This is a super plan that is supported by Dems & Repubs alike.

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Apr 16, 08 - 09:48 AM
Reichert, others, want Iraq to pay for rebuilding -- UPDATED

Apr 16, 08 - 09:12 AM
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Apr 16, 08 - 07:08 AM
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