According to Reuters, The Federal Reserve (OUR Federal Reserve) sent 363 TONS of money, totaling $4 billion in cash to Baghdad, just before the U.S. “gave control back to Iraquis.” Ok, before I get to the money, let me say, “Wha . . .?” When exactly did we give control back to Iraquis? And if we’re not in control, then why the hell aren’t we headed home? And doesn’t “Iraquis” make you think of “daiquiris” or is that just me? But I digress.
We sent $4 billion--in cash--to Iraq. On giant pallets. In military aircraft. Stupefyingly, jaw-droppingly, short-bus level decision making.
Yes, it was money that belonged to Iraq that had been “held” by the U.S. (Because they just would have bought a bunch of candy and spoiled their dinners!) Nonetheless, it was the largest cash shipment ever by the Federal Reserve.
L. Paul Bremer, administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, said we sent the money at the request of the Iraqi Minister of Finance. Bremer: "He said, 'I am concerned that I will not have the money to support the Iraqi government expenses for the first couple of months after we are sovereign. We won't have the mechanisms in place, I won't know how to get the money here."
“I WON’T KNOW HOW TO GET THE MONEY HERE”!?!?!?!? You’re the fucking FINANCE minister and you don’t know about wire transfers or online bill pay? I wonder how he manages all those accounts in Switzerland and the Caymans with such little understanding of complex, international, multi-billion dollar financial deals.
Also of note: “FIRST COUPLE OF MONTHS?!” $4 BILLION for the first couple of months? Wonder where next months allowance is going to come from?
And then the other staggeringly stupid thing that jumps out at me—when did the U.S. Dollar become the official currency of Iraq? I know that when I converted my paltry sum of U.S. dollars to Australian dollars for my recent adventure, the bank took a nice little percentage off the top. Makes me want to rush right over and start a Casa de Cambio or Bureau de Change in Baghdad.
"Who in their right mind would send 363 tons of cash into a war zone? But that's exactly what our government did," said Congressman Henry Wexler. Hello, Rep. Wexler? Where have you been for the last 6 years? “Our government” hasn’t exactly been making the honor roll.
"So these shipments were made at the explicit request of the Iraqi minister of finance to forward fund government expenses, a perfectly, seems to me, legitimate use of his money," Bremer told lawmakers.
When reached on his satellite phone for comment, the Iraqui Finance Minister said, “Hang on a sec, I have a mouth full of caviar.” Upon clearing his pallet (pun intended), the Minister said, “Can you hear me okay? I’m on the yacht and the wind noise can be problematic.”