I don't want to overly belabor a minor semantical point, but I think Mr. Lutas is incorrect in asserting that the development contracts we're handing out in Iraq aren't spoils of war (as I claimed here). He says:

The war was only incidental to the contracts from a political point of view (as opposed to national security). ...

A spoil of war must, of necessity, be coming out of the hide of the defeated power. If the money is coming out of the pockets of taxpayers in the winning countries or interested neutrals, it might be pork, it might be a political payoff, but it is not a spoil. The term spoil implies that a party is despoiled (dictionary.com defines this as "To deprive for spoil; to plunder; to rob; to pillage; to strip; to divest"). This is a linguistic necessity. But who has been despoiled? Where did the money come from? To speak of spoils of war in Iraq implies that the US is robbing Iraq. That is not true and requires too much explanation to be of any practical benefit other than misleading propaganda.

But take a look at the definition of "spoils" on Dictionary.com and you'll see that definition 1b is "Incidental benefits reaped by a winner...". That's basically what I said, and that's what TML said as well.

Anyway, I don't want to get caught up on a turn of phrase. I don't see anything negative about calling the contracts "spoils"; I think it's just being honest. We're reaping some economic benefit from the war, and we're deciding who we're going to share with -- the Iraqis are getting more benefit than anyone else.



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