20 January 2007

Today's stupid question

Adjusted for inflation, how much did the Marshall Plan cost for just Germany?

There were roughly 80 million Germans, and about a third that many Iraqi, more or less.

There also wasn't an insurgency running in Germany, and while we did bomb the cities until the rubble bounced, the infrastructure in Iraq isn't badly damaged, it's more or less nonexistent.

Democracy requires a degree of prosperity, and more importantly, the perception of achieving better things. If you do not believe that there are opportunities to better yourself, then you sit on your fat duff and vote for whatever politician promises the most bread and the best circuses. That is disaster. If you do believe in those opportunities, you vote for the politician that promises to safeguard those opportunities and then you diligently work for them.

You don't build an infrastructure overnight or on shoestring budgets. Not going to happen.

I'm wondering how many people who are ready to cut our losses and go home have a plan to deal with the fallout. What fallout?

How many pro-US goverments fell from 1975 to 1980?

Hint: The answer isn't 1.

What are we going to do when rabidly anti-American governments take power in bloody coups through the Middle East and start manipulating oil prices in ways that make the post-1973 Oil Embargo look like free trade?


Anonymous Michael Llaneza said...

Plans to deal with the fallout ? I'll want those Marshall plan numbers to be sure, but I'll bet a rebuilding program is a lot cheaper than maintaining troops there. And a lot fewer people get killed, most especially by us.

A major aid plan will be beset with difficulties, inefficiencies and corruption. It also reduces the risk of killing people we don't want dead to almost exactly zero (cf Afghani casualties caused by direct hits with airdropped aid packages).

At this point a new Marshall plan looks more likely to keep Iraq from turning into another Somalia than anything else we can do. If we'd had the boots on the ground and the foresight to squelch the looting right after the occupation the situation wouldn't be half this bad.

More men with guns saying "go the frack back to work and clean this mess up" would have been the way to go. Saying that back in '91 would have been even better.

As for dealing with a succession of rabidly anti-American coups, we have a couple of ways to go. Reducing our vulnerability to fluctuations in the oil market would be a good first step. Fostering the moderates in Iran is essential, the last elections showed signs of progress and I'm hoping that reducing the threat of ground invasion (by getting out of Iraq) will actually make it easier for them to make gains. The third is a solid rebuilding effort in Iraq, possibly backed up by a (reduced) military presence.

We also need to be prepared for another Berlin Airlift to back up our essential security needs in the region. And if we do have to run one it had better be for humanitarian reasons. Flying food and medicine into Baghdad because the country has utterly collapsed is one thing, flying supplies into a besieged Green Zone is a another entirely.

8:14 PM  

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