December 11, 2003


Having opposed the war, France, Russia, and Germany are now upset that they won’t get to be war profiteers:

Several nations that opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq sharply rebuked the Pentagon today for barring their companies from bidding on $18.6 billion in prime contracts for reconstruction of the country.

Germany called the Pentagon's decision "unacceptable." Moreover, France questioned the move's legality, Canada warned that its aid to Iraq may be halted and Russia threatened to turn down Washington's bid to restructure billions in Iraqi debts.

"We noted with astonishment today the reports and we will be speaking about it with the American side," German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told the Associated Press after talks with his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov.

Talking to Igor, eh? Good for you. And from CNN:

A decision by the U.S. to bar some of its major trading partners from bidding for Iraqi reconstruction contracts has been greeted around the world with amazement.

According to a memo posted on a Pentagon Web site, those countries that either participated in the Coalition effort in the war or supported it -- including Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland, Turkey and Japan -- were on the list.

While officials from some of the excluded countries speculated that the memo was not official U.S. policy, the White House put such notions to rest Wednesday, when spokesman Scott McClellan said decision to limit the list was "totally appropriate."


Posted by Tim Blair at December 11, 2003 11:43 AM

Well you can't trust Joschka Fischer with any brick and mortar type contracts, because he's proven in the past that when he gets a brick, he hits a policeman with it...

American police, (and even more so Military Police) tend to shoot you for that. It would take Colin Powell a long time to patch that situation up.

Posted by: Jim at December 11, 2003 at 11:49 AM

Someone might tell the French that we need contractors who will work more than 35 hours a week and won't take three months vacation a year.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at December 11, 2003 at 11:55 AM

Payback's a bitch aint it?

Posted by: Rob at December 11, 2003 at 11:57 AM

We should at least let them clean toilets.

Posted by: Mr. Pibb at December 11, 2003 at 12:12 PM

Don't forget Canada! They're whining big time.

Posted by: Donnah at December 11, 2003 at 12:15 PM

we should let them into iraq. good target practice.

Posted by: samkit at December 11, 2003 at 12:23 PM

I figure my share of the $87B in US spending on Iraq, given my tax bracket, is about $2500 and I sure as hell don't want my two-and-a-half large going to ABB or TotalElfFina, thank you very much.

Posted by: Andrew at December 11, 2003 at 12:35 PM

Amazing. Bush tells some uripeeans they should support the War on Terror on principle, not because there are fat contracts involved. How naive.

Posted by: Theodopoulos Pherecydes at December 11, 2003 at 12:46 PM

The official release of solitations for the contracts was delayed from Dec 9 to Dec 12. The announcement of that delay seems to have come with the whinefest following the news reports that only coalition countries would be allowed to bid on the prime contracts.

Posted by: Lynxx Pherrett at December 11, 2003 at 12:48 PM

I am rubbing my thumb and index finger together. Do you know what this is?

Posted by: Brown Line at December 11, 2003 at 12:59 PM

When it comes to gall, you can't beat the Gauls.

Posted by: freddyboy at December 11, 2003 at 01:08 PM

Impressive. I didn't think the scum in Washington could get any scummier, but yet again they pull a new nasty out of the hat.


America, where are you? Lost forever?

Posted by: Nemesis at December 11, 2003 at 01:39 PM

Whereare you, Nemesis? Lost in France?

Forever perhaps?

Posted by: ilibcc at December 11, 2003 at 01:45 PM

Didn't realise there any real businesses left in France.

No, right all along: business: equals govt. ; this the French govt's. defintion of business.This explains all which can be encapsulated by : boo hoo Chirac, you can't get the moolah back on the nuclear weapons plant you built in Iraq.

Posted by: d at December 11, 2003 at 01:57 PM

Why they're the scummiest scummy scumbags ever to scum scum scum! You're a goddamn retard, 'nemesis' but that's what happens when brother fucks sister.

BTW, what are you the 'nemesis' of? A Nutella and peanutbutter sandwitch? Ha ha!

Posted by: Amos at December 11, 2003 at 02:23 PM

This one's just the first shoe. Wait until Iraq repudiates the debts incurred by the previous owner.

For Nemesis:

scum (skum) n. One who does business with a murderous dictator, actively opposes the dictator's overthrow despite mountains of justification, stabs its allies in the back while they overthrow the dictator, allows others to provide the money and lives needed to overthrow the dictator, continues to stab its allies in the back while they mop up and try to establish a new government, then attempt to profit on the cleanup operations. synonyms: weasel, france

Posted by: Ken Summers at December 11, 2003 at 02:26 PM

Tim, when you start a magazine and hire some writers, you are OBLIGED to hire Nemesis. Unless you want to be nasty forever-lost scum, of course.

Posted by: Lileks at December 11, 2003 at 02:30 PM

Hey Nemo, go to Nauru with your mates and sew up your lip.

Mmgklfmmm...mmmmsdgm ...dljfmmmmm.... what's that ? Sounds like a suck hole.

Posted by: freddyboy at December 11, 2003 at 02:55 PM

"Who wants to send troops with me to free Iraq?" said the bald eagle.

"Not I, not I," said the rooster.

"Not I, not I," said the black eagle.

"Not I, not I," said the bear.

"Who wants some of the lucrative contracts available now that I've freed Iraq?" said the bald eagle.

"I do! I do!" said the rooster.

"I do! I do!" said the black eagle.

"I do! I do!" said the bear.

"Fuck you! Fuck you!" said the bald eagle.

"But we're surprised!" said the rooster, black eagle and bear.

"You mean you honestly thought I'm such a wimp that I'd forget you refused to help and reward you? You think that makes ME scum? Fuck off, scum." said the bald eagle.

Posted by: Jim C. at December 11, 2003 at 03:40 PM

"Payback" should not be the main objective of the Bush administration. Results are what counts. A successful reconstruction will be the ultimate vindication and without that, all of these gestures would be hollow.

I think the point that stings the weasels the most is that this decision is consistent with getting results. They offer little or nothing that one of the coalition countries couldn't do just as well. More importantly, contractors from the weasel countries will have conflicting interests. Their governments are rightly suspect when it comes to their incentives for getting results. They knowabout the equation successful reconstruction = vindication. They chose their place on the sidelines so who can sympathize with them when they demand to play?

Posted by: John, Tokyo at December 11, 2003 at 04:02 PM

Still thnk this is all a red hering. In order for France, Germany, Russia and Canada to complete their side of the contracts, they will have to send people into Iraq. That they have said, they will not do.

Furthermore, Iraqis who have had their relatives killed and/or maimed by Saddam (most of them) are not overly interested in doing business with the French right now or in the near future. Well, make that, ever.

What are they thinking? I mean Jeeze, look at DHL A GERMAN COMPANY for example. They dudes who fired the missiles at it didn't seemed to be concerned that Germany didn't send any troops. The French reporters covering the incident didn't seemed to be concerned that a couple of nuetral Germans were about to be smoked. Their nuetrality is not going to protect them. So in order for France to complete any contracts, they will have to send troops to protect them. Because I'm pretty sure, that the Americans/British/Poles won't. However... maybe the Mongolians?

Posted by: Charles at December 11, 2003 at 04:14 PM

Damn Europussies.

Posted by: Sincerity Slips at December 11, 2003 at 09:52 PM

There are legitimate security concerns about allowing people from those countries free access to Iraq at this point.

Wolfowitz & the White House are right on this one.

Plus, it does send an important message. The countries excluded have had many opportunities to show their concern for Iraqi reconstruction.

Over my dead body and freely exercised vote will the US use my tax dollars to reward companies in France etc.

Posted by: rkb at December 11, 2003 at 10:10 PM

Poor Frenchies. Ah well.

Posted by: Mike O at December 11, 2003 at 11:29 PM

"Payback should not be the main objective of the Bush administration"

John, payback is not the main objective. It's a pleasant and amusing side effect.

Posted by: Ken Summers at December 11, 2003 at 11:50 PM

Also, given the nuclear-powered Charles DeGaulle and typical Russian building, why the Hell would Iraq want their handiwork? Germany, maybe. At least their stuff works. On the other hand, it's US money. Does't he who pays the piper get to call the tune?

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at December 12, 2003 at 12:26 AM

I reckon Ken Summers has nailed it.

This is only small beer at this stage. The Provisional Authority has every right to determine how American money is spent. It's remarkable to see the axis of weasels thinking that they have any right to whine about it.

The shit is really going to hit the fan when the new Iraqi Government repudiates the debts that Saddam ran up for weaponry and self-aggrandisement, with the full support of suppliers from those same weasel countries and to the detriment of the Iraqi people. *Then* we are going to hear some squealing! Revenge is a damn fine thing - and even sweeter when it is exacted by the very same Iraqi people who the weasels tried so hard to keep down.

Posted by: Bob Bunnett at December 12, 2003 at 12:36 AM

Yeah that's the bit I'm looking forward to. And you can tell the Eurotrash are nervous about it.

And you guys are totaly wrong about payback not being necessary, France has to learn that there are painful consequences to fucking with the U.S, or else they'll do it constantly and with total impunity.

Posted by: Amos at December 12, 2003 at 01:43 AM

Ken: payback is an important aspect of the post-war arena. The Frogs, Huns, Ivans, Frostbacks whathaveyou need to re-learn this important lesson: policy stances have consequences. Think of it as operant conditioning in the era of WW IV.

But the Weasels are being even more disingenuous than usual. It was publicly stated that those countries that did not support the coalition would not be involved in rebuilding Iraq. Once again, we see the most reliable predictor of what the Bush administration is going to do is listen to what the frickin' White House says. I know that people were conditioned by eight years of dissimulation and smarm from ol' Billy Jeff Jim Bob (who tacked in the wind faster than a 470 racing yacht) but c'mon people - it's been three years!

Posted by: David Gillies at December 12, 2003 at 02:26 AM

Didn't the French and Germans already make their money in Iraq, what with the reactors, missiles, rail systems, etc? I'm confused.

Posted by: Rob at December 12, 2003 at 02:34 AM

I'm glad to see this. A clear demonstration of cause/effect for the 3 Weasles. I do think they ought to let Canadia in, though. They haven't given aid with Iraq, but they've given money, and they're helping out somewhat in Afghanistan (as are the Germans, be it noted). Plus, the Canuks are our neighbors, and it always pays to be extra nice to the neighbors.

The French and Russians? Fuck 'em.

Posted by: mojo at December 12, 2003 at 02:36 AM

I don't like the negative "payback" talk. I prefer the positive - it's payback to our allies who are getting the contracts, and a recognition that they are trusted to be as honest and excellent in peace as they have been in war.

SS - your chant is incomplete. Add "Oz Oz Oz!" "Po-land Po-land Po-land!", and "Eng-land Eng-land Eng-land!" As I'm sure you're aware, this isn't a unilateral operation.

Mojo - fuck the Canadians. Give 'em contracts in Afghanistan if they want them, but not Iraq. Yes, they're our neighbors, but they get a hell of a lot more out of it than we do (like the luxury of an armed forces smaller than the Metro Toronto police force.) They're a neighbor who sits by the expensive landscaping hedges you put in and tells people what an asshole you are while you're out mowing the lawn, criticizes how you do it, rags on how your house looks, then gets pissy and whiny when you say that John Bull and Ozzy from down the street are your best friends because they've always got your back.

Oz and G-B are, and have always been, friends. Canada is just a neighbor and trading partner, and will be until their (effectively) one-party system is broken up and the Trudeaupian stupidity ends.

Posted by: Dave S. at December 12, 2003 at 03:09 AM

"France has to learn that there are painful consequences to fucking with the U.S, or else they'll do it constantly and with total impunity"

One of the reasons that anti-Americanism is so common is that it rarely has consequences. Tinpot African dictators call us racists and get foreign aid. American college professors call us fascists and get fame, tenure, and book contracts. And, until now, Eurotrash could piggyback on US money and military might while stabbing us in the ass. It's like kids who'll talk shit to the big, hulking, affable kid who tolerates it because he'll be criticized for being a bully if he lays smackdown, but they'll kiss the ass of the little punk with the crazy eyes.

Posted by: Dave S. at December 12, 2003 at 03:23 AM

Stop me before I analogize again.

Posted by: Dave S. at December 12, 2003 at 03:32 AM

"One scarcely find a worse way to foster post-baking barnyard cooperation,” said the Duck.

"Perhaps we should form a multilateral commission to review whether the 2001 Cat-Dog-Duck Accords on agricultural subsidy standards and trade rules were violated,” said the Cat.

"Mmm, mmm, mmm, these testicles of mine are salty-delicious,” said the Dog.

Meanwhile, the Little Red Hen move on to a larger, happier and more prosperous farm. With smarter animals.

Posted by: iowahawk at December 12, 2003 at 03:58 AM

This move is being mischaracterized as Payback. This is NOT payback. This is a very forward looking policy. Any realistic assessment of the Islamic terrorist threat will bring the sober conclusion that the task before us is a multi-generational task.

There could be no worse policy than for the USA to commit to paying the cost in blood and treasure to rid the world of this threat, allow others to overtly oppose the effort, and then allow the opposition to profit from opposing us by collecting fat contracts after the dirty work is done.

Remember, this is not a net positive financial windfall for American companies. America is paying a HUGE cost to rid the world of this latest facist threat. Even the contracts being given out are being paid for with taxes collected from Americans and American companies. No economist can look at the already multi-trillion dollar and rising price this effort has already cost our economy, and honestly suggest that a few paltry billion dollars in contracts paid for with American money is enriching America at the expense of Europe or any other nation in the world.


Posted by: Scott Harris at December 12, 2003 at 05:18 AM

I wondered when Mirander would chime in with another useless comment. I would ask how letting France and Germany make money off of the Iraqi and American (and Polish, Australian, etc.) people would bring "freedom and deocracy to the arab world" but I know that she/he was merely trolling and doesn't give jackshit about Arabs, never mind the French and the Germans and the Canadians.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 12, 2003 at 08:08 AM

Doling out the spoils of war, eh? I thought it was all about bringing freedom and democracy to the arab world.

Fortunately, we can do both at once. Its a win-win!

Provided you're not a Euro-weasel or an Islamist nutjob, that is.

You might be more accurate to say "Lucky for Oz, it wasn't under the bootheel of a megalomaniacal kleptocratic nutjob for 30 years." There are worse things in the world than "Halliburton" oil prices.

Speaking of oil prices, Miranda, without OPEC oil would cost between one-half and one-third of what it does now. If you really want to get pissy about organizations that are ripping people off with high oil prices, OPEC is a much better target.

Posted by: R. C. Dean at December 12, 2003 at 08:12 AM

Germany called the Pentagon's decision "unacceptable."
Well then, they'd best not accept it.

Posted by: David Blue at December 12, 2003 at 08:46 AM

Doling out the spoils of war, eh? I thought it was all about bringing freedom and democracy to the arab world.

I feared this would be a response to America's decision. (Never mind this is money from the USA, not money from Iraq)

Plus stuff about America breaking bridges between them and other countries (not that those said countries did anything wrong, oh no).

Posted by: Andjam at December 12, 2003 at 09:08 AM

R.C., good point about the OPECkers.

BTW, I fully expect Chiraq (ooh, maybe we shouldn't spell it that way anymore) to say "I fart in your general direction". And it will no doubt be as effective as anything else he says.

Posted by: Ken Summers at December 12, 2003 at 09:10 AM

France won't be allowed to forget.

By the USA, yes, but importantly, by its neighbours - Italy and Spain - which lost lives in the cause of rebuilding the Iraq nation.

France - and Germany - should not be allowed to walk over the bodies of their neighbours to achieve immoral and hypocritical economic gain.

Posted by: ilibcc at December 12, 2003 at 09:24 AM

The thing I like the best about france and Germany having a whinge- there is absolutely, totally, fuck all they can do about it.

They can moan, they can make gradiose statements, they can go on about "fair" and "equitable" but at the end of the day they have to wait out in the cold with their caps in hand and watch through the window.

There is the added hope that this is only the thin edge of the wedge and they'll be passed over on other project where Australia can benefit.

Posted by: Jake D at December 12, 2003 at 12:02 PM

What do the Iraqi people want? The Iraqis know who was with them and who was against them. Since Gulf War I, the Americans and British spent $20 billion on flying protection for the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south. During that decade, the UN enacted sanctions, because Saddam was not fulfilling his end of the bargain in exchange for the ceasefire.

France especially, but Germany and Russia were making multi-billion dollar deals with Saddam, but neglected to collect the money up front. America and Britain fought Saddam from the air for 10 years, while Euroweenies were making bucks from the dictator.

The UN and Kofi Annan made billions during the same time with the Food for Oil program and helped Saddam get additional billions for his palaces and armaments, which are not use to murder Americans, Iraqis, Italians, Spainards, Japanese, Koreans, the Red Cross and the UN.

The Iraqis know that France, Russia, Germany and the UN were ALL in cahoots with Saddam. They DO NOT want any part of the Euroweenies. They know whose sacrificing to help them get to their feet.

God Bless the Iraqi People and all of her friends. Screw the rest.

Posted by: Jabba the Nutt at December 12, 2003 at 01:14 PM

dave s - no, i will not stop you. keep going!

"Trudeaupian" rhymes with 'utopian', does it not? and is as realistic/effective.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at December 12, 2003 at 10:24 PM

By the way, its amusing to be generating so much anti-troll traffic when some lame fuck keeps removing my original posts.

Don;t you tools believe in free speech? Isn't that ...

NOTE: Remainder of comment deleted.


Posted by: Miranda Divide at December 13, 2003 at 12:02 PM