Friday, December 12, 2003

Are you a friendly coalition folk? If not, go folk yourself!

Anger in Europe over the U.S. decision to exclude countries, including France, Germany and Russia, from billions of dollars worth of Iraqi reconstruction contracts is not going away. Thursday, the European Union called the move unjustified and difficult to accept.

"It does seem gratuitous and unnecessary," said Anthony Gooch, a spokesman for the EU's delegation in Washington. He denounced the move as puzzling, especially since it comes at a time when President Bush has been telephoning the leaders of European nations asking for their help in forgiving Iraqi debt.

"On a day when you see President Bush seeking the active support of three heads of government from Russia, Germany and France to help restructure Iraq's debt, that while the left hand is doing one thing while the right hand is doing something else, it does suggest a certain incoherence," he continued.

But the president, in his first public comments about the dispute, defended the decision in an exchange with reporters.

"Our people risked their lives," defended Mr. Bush. "Friendly coalition folks risked their lives and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that and that's what the U.S. voters taxpayers expect."

AKA Statement #319 in the re-election campaign or Item #23a/2b in the Haliburton Annual Report.

Might be nice if these contracts were "going to reflect" and address the needs of your common or garden embattled Iraqi in the street.

(Sorry about that. I just had a very silly Pollyanna moment.)