This reported statement from Paul Bremer, acknowledging that reconstruction in Iraq will cost tens of billions of dollars, and that oil revenue will come nowhere near paying for this is a welcome acknowledgement of reality. But there is still no sign that the US Administration as a whole has accepted the need to spend lots more money. And even Bremer is still sticking to the party line that other countries (read Old Europe) can be expected to give buckets of money to Uncle Sam while being treated as pariahs or interlopers.
Meanwhile Howard is steering clear of the whole thing, offering no more than the handful of troops still left in Iraq and no serious money. I’m in two minds about this. Certainly, we have plenty of problems closer to home, and the benefit-cost ratio is probably higher in the Solomons than in Iraq. On the other hand, we invaded Iraq, smashed its economy to bits, and are now leaving the unfortunate Iraqis to pick up the pieces.