Congressmen arguing that Iraq should be spending its own money for reconstruction to ease the burden on America and the Coalition are correct, and I've been arguing similarly for years. It's primarily the Democrats making this point now, but I don't see why Republicans should object. (Am I missing something?)
Democrats plan to push legislation this spring that would force the Iraqi government to spend its own surplus in oil revenues to rebuild the country, sparing U.S. dollars. ...
"Rather, we need to put continuous and increasing pressure on the Iraqis to settle their political differences, to pay for their own reconstruction with their oil windfalls, and to take the lead in conducting military operations," said Levin, D-Mich.
Iraq has about $30 billion in surplus funds stored in U.S. banks, according to Levin.
Iraq is looking at a potential boon in oil revenue this year, possibly as much as $100 billion in 2007 and 2008. Meanwhile, the U.S. military is having to buy its fuel on the open market, paying on average $3.23 a gallon and spending some $153 million a month in Iraq on fuel alone.
This will be a complicated transition, and the Coalition needs to make certain that this oil money doesn't get stolen by a new breed of kleptocrats or wasted by incompetents. Corruption is rampant throughout the region, so this will be no easy task.
I also wouldn't object to direct payments into the American treasury to compensate us for our expenditures thus far. I've mentioned before that compensation for the families of Americans killed in Iraq would build a lot of good-will.