The reconstruction of Iraq is held above our heads like a promise and a threat. People roll their eyes at reconstruction because they know (Iraqis are wily) that these dubious reconstruction projects are going to plunge the country into a national debt only comparable to that of America. A few already rich contractors are going to get richer, Iraqi workers are going to be given a pittance and the unemployed Iraqi public can stand on the sidelines and look at the glamorous buildings being built by foreign companies.
Well, of course it�s going to take uncountable billions to rebuild Iraq, Mr. Bremer, if the contracts are all given to foreign companies!
(be sure to read Riverbend's full post.)
For the record, I pointed out back in April that the idea that Iraqi oil could pay for reconstruction was absurd. :
Suppose reconstruction costs $100 billion, and only takes 1 year. At $30 a barrel of oil, that amounts to 3 billion barrels (about 8 million barrels per day, or bbl/d). This is equal to Saudi Arabia's current output (and Iraq does not have anywhere near Saudi Arabia's reserves, nor the oil infrastructure to process and refine such a colossal amount of oil even if it did). In addition to the ludicrously cheap and quick estimate of the reconstruction cost and duration above, note that there is also an implicit assumption that every dollar of revenue will go to reconstruction cost, without any middlemen (which as anyone familiar with the oil industry knows, is a laughable assertion).
Re-reading teh comments on that post, I wonder what those who apologized for the idea back then have to say about it now? (even the Freepers are up in arms...)