How Much Pork Can You Buy for $87 Billion?

Unraveling the mysteries of Bush's Iraq rebuilding budget

| October 10, 2003 Issue

Once Iraqis learn English they will be able to read their "Baghdad Fire Department" T-shirts, but they still won't have fire engines or protective gear. And that's just one of the many mysteries in Bush's latest military and "rebuilding" request, reports Matt Bivens in The Nation. Other oddities include $400 million for jails (at $50,000 a bed), $30 million to teach English as a second language (so they can read the T-shirts?), $100 million to put 100 families in the witness protection program, and another billion to import oil into a country with world's second-largest oil reserves. South Dakota Democratic Senator Tim Johnson is up in arms over the $9 million request to establish Iraqi ZIP codes, "How has Iraq made it for these thousands of years without Americans helping them develop a ZIP code? What a generous thing for this administration to do for other people on the other side of the planet, on our dime, borrowing money to do it." While Bush ignores the economic crisis in this country, it is no surprise he is ignoring the humanitarian crisis he caused half a world away. His solution in both cases is to pile on the pork for his corporate friends.
-- Joel Stonington

Go there>> Baghdad Fire Department T-shirts!