COMMENTARY | A month ago, the U.S. pulled the last of its troops out of Iraq -- something Iraq's government and people had long said they wanted. Now, according to AFP, the country is quickly falling further into its violent, sectarian ways.
And while Iraq's ex-premier, Iyad Allawi, said the country doesn't want the return of American troops, it is calling for the U.S. to "use its diplomatic and other channels through the strategic agreement between the United States and Iraq to try and bring about sanity to the political process and inclusivity."
I am not sure what that means, but at the risk of sounding jaded, it sounds a bit like being asked to toss more money at the problem. What else could Allawi be hinting at? And what, at this point, could the U.S. provide that wouldn't cost more money and lots of it?
Truth is, we've already spent billions upon billions in Iraq. Yes, we invaded the country. Yes, we had an obligation to try to build up what we had a big hand in tearing down. We've been doing so in the tune of more than $5 billion a year in foreign assistance from 2004 to 2009 -- more than $10.8 billion in 2005 alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Last year, the U.S. tab for foreign grants and credits, which have, since 2003 gone to reconstruction and humanitarian assistance, was almost $2.7 billion.
Now Allawi says, according to the article, the U.S. has a political as well as a "moral responsibility" to do more to help the country. When does it end, though? And how much will it cost us? And if the money, training and time we've given -- all at a huge financial and personal cost -- haven't helped yet, what makes us think that more will?