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Public Statements

Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq Security

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. INHOFE. The whole issue of the $87 billion is so misunderstood by most of the American people, I would like to try to put it in a context that is more understandable. First of all, you are talking about $87 billion, of which $66 billion is going back into the military. Most of that is rebuilding the military for what happened to the military during the 1990s, and to rebuild it, to get us up to be able to meet the challenges that are very serious today. I would like to go into more detail on that, but there is not time in this 5 minutes.

But I would say this, of the $87 billion—and you take away the $66 billion—we are talking about $20 billion, less $5 billion. It is very important we understand this; $5 billion of this will be going toward border security, having nothing to do with rebuilding infrastructure, rebuilding any of the water systems, electrical systems, the highways, the other infrastructure systems we are going to have to get done.

It leaves $15 billion.

The big discussion here is—and I know it sounds good to the American people and it sounds good to my wife—with all of the potential oil revenues, why don't we restructure this as a loan as opposed to a grant? There is very good reason for that.
CSIS has come up with an analysis of the debt that is owed currently by Iraq. It is not just $140 billion or the $200 billion figure you have heard. When you put the claims in there that would have to be subordinate to the $383 billion, if we do restructure this as a loan, it would come in only after $383 billion has been repaid by some source. We all know logically that would never ever happen. But the rewards of expending this $15 billion and doing it quickly, as the President is requesting, are immense. To have a friend in that country of Iraq in the Middle East would have a great benefit for us.

When you stop to think about just the cost of petroleum for the no-fly zone, that amounts to $15 billion each decade. If we don't do this, we are going to be right back in that box where we didn't finish the job we should have finished in 1991 and
1996. Now is the time to finish the job.

I suggest to you that the greatest disservice we could do to our troops on the ground over in Iraq would be to stall this thing, to not get over there and put the necessary money in to fix the infrastructure.

I am not sure how many people in this body know how much our troops are doing. They are actually putting roofs on buildings, they are actually constructing houses, and they are doing things on their own with their own labor. They desperately need to have us come in and make the necessary fixes.

We have had a success story. My gosh, we have had over 5,000 businesses started. The hospitals and clinics are now open.
The schools opened 2 days ago, and 56,000 Iraqis are now working in the security control system.

All of this can continue only if we get the $15 billion over there for the reparations and to take care of the infrastructure. If we don't do that, we are leaving our troops out there in a very dangerous situation.

I would like for everyone to remember their history a little bit.

The Treaty of Versailles was in 1919, at the end of World War I. France insisted on leaving $32 billion in debt for the Germans to pay. As a result of being covered up with debt and knowing there was no possible way out, they became ripe for Hitler to come along. And we know the rest of the story.

That is the same situation we are facing in Iraq right now. If we don't come to the table with the $15 billion and get in there and start repairing the infrastructure and continue the success we have had so far, and do it immediately, then we are going to leave our troops hanging out there to dry.

For the sake of national security, the most significant thing we probably will be dealing with—certainly in this year and maybe during our entire careers—is to get the money in there and get the job done, and this time not do what we did in 1991 or 1996 but finish the job and bring this country back up so it can be our ally in the Middle East.

I yield the floor.

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