June 28, 2004

Best Iraq Stories: "Give to my son Uday $900M..."

I usually try to be politically neutral, especially on this blog, but today I'd like to open with a statement: Michael Moore is a smart man ... in only that he makes money off the idiots that pay to watch his drivel. As one commentator noted about Fahrenheit 911: "it's so misleading, you can't even call it wrong". If you believe anything in the documentary, without at least doing a modicum of research on the web or elsewhere, you will fail to meet the qualification of an independent thinker.

Iraq was not a country at peace with it's neighbors, with food for all, before the current occupation as the movie implies. Under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, they attacked half of their neighbors in the last two decades. These were expensive wars that, coupled with the resultant sanctions and Saddam's corruption, bankrupted their country. We came in and are helping setting it back on track. As I've said before, this is the most generous, and thankless, thing we have done since we gave France back to the French.

My housemate in Iraq was working on their banking system. 15 years ago the bank of Iraq, with copious oil revenue, was the 13th strongest bank in the world. Now their currency, until we recently bolstered it, was worthless. In 1989 it took three US Dollars to buy one Iraqi Dinar, now it takes 1,500.00 Iraqi Dinars to buy one US Dollar (over three orders of magnitude of devaluation in a decade in a half). So my housemate had a chance to ask the banks "uh, hey, guys, WTF happened here?". They produced several letters written by Saddam Hussein that said "give to my son Uday the sum of $900 million dollars (equivalent)", "give to my son Quessa the sum of $800M"...

The Husseins took the money and spent it. Saddam had 27 palaces at last count. Since so many of his own people were trying to kill him, he didn't want people to know his travel schedule, so he had meals for 100 people prepared for every palace 3x a day. He also didn't want people to be able to track where he was, so he didn't want whether or not the locals got fed to indicate if he was there or not -- so he had every uneaten meal destroyed instead of given away. This while most of his people were below the hunger line.

So, then the UN came up with the Oil for Food program. This is often called the "Oil for Palace's" program. Some of the other people I was working along side with had the opportunity to help unravel the multiple layers of fraud that came along with the program. It quickly becomes clear why France and Russia didn't want us to go in there, if nothing else we'd expose all their corruption. Not to mention the fact that the UN was taking a commission on every sale, and pocked over a billion dollars themselves off the scam (the books the UN keeps are secret).

Think I'm crazy? Think this is Western propaganda? Here, look at what Al Jazeera says about it:

Al Jazeera story

Posted by rick at June 28, 2004 06:52 PM