A sickly disturbing New York Times piece sadly illustrates the price of American weakness. Our supposed "allies" are in fact financing the terrorists in Iraq and around the world. Why do they have the balls for such a move? Because they know the United States will just bend over and take it.
The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, connivance by corrupt Islamic charities and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified United States government report has concluded.
The report, obtained by The New York Times, estimates that groups responsible for many insurgent and terrorist attacks are raising $70 million to $200 million a year from illegal activities. It says $25 million to $100 million of that comes from oil smuggling and other criminal activity involving the state-owned oil industry, aided by “corrupt and complicit” Iraqi officials.
As much as $36 million a year comes from ransoms paid for hundreds of kidnap victims, the report says. It estimates that unnamed foreign governments — previously identified by American officials as including France and Italy — paid $30 million in ransom last year.
So our "allies" buy smuggled oil, pay ransoms, and so forth, and their money is then turned around and used to kill Iraqis and Americans. Fantastic. France and Italy -- among others -- apparently need to relearn what it means to get on our bad side. Unfortunately for the world, it looks like America wants to be liked more than we want to be respected. So in the end we get neither... we just get killed.