Washington Prowler

The Free Iraq in Our Future

The rebuilding will be done by those who fought. Also: Bill Clinton touts his military plan. Plus: Al Gore faces the draft.

By 4.7.03

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A FIGHTING CHANCE
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld thinks his folks are going to be running Iraq in a few months. So does Secretary of State Colin Powell. Perhaps it will be neither of them. Instead of arguing about it, the Treasury Department and the Justice Department have actually been doing something about it. Both agencies have worked up detailed plans mapping out the economic and judicial blueprints for a post-Saddam Iraqi nation.

"It's free market, rule of law," says on knowledgeable Treasury Department staffer. "This is going to be Hong Kong, Iraq-style."

The Justice Department is said to have already spoken to several constitutional law experts based in the United States, who have previously written draft constitutional-style documents for countries in Africa. "They want to establish a system that is democratic, with an open court system, something similar to the United States," says the Treasury source. "The British will have a hand in all of this, they are pulling together their own models and plans, but this isn't going to be a U.N. style operation. No way."

Late last week, perhaps anticipating that Germany was going to be on the outside looking in, Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder attempted to claim that he was supportive of Saddam's removal all the time, and that the sooner he was gone the better so that all countries could begin helping rebuild Iraq.

"Ain't going to happen," says a State Department staffer. "The Germans and French are s--- out of luck. Coalition countries have put their peoples' blood in the sand of Iraq, we're not going to let a bunch of cowards show up late and expect to play a role. They weren't up to the fighting, and that may well have been the easy part of this project."

In fact, many of the countries that opposed the toppling of Saddam may be on the losing end of this deal. House Republican leader Tom DeLay is mulling legislation that would bar any U.S. Agency for International Development contracts related to Iraq's reconstruction from being shared with German, French or Canadian companies. Under current USAID rules, only American companies are allowed to bid on contracts from USAID, but the winning U.S. bidders are allowed to take on foreign subcontractors for the jobs. According to the State Department source, British firms are expected to get the bulk of USAID subcontracts if they qualify for the work. "Our allies will get the first crack at the aid money," says the State Department staffer. "It's only fair."

60 MINUTE MOUSE
Former President Bill Clinton isn't just going on 60 Minutes to get more face time with the nation. "He's doing it because he sees it as an opportunity to set the record straight on what he accomplished over his eight years in the White House," says a current adviser.

Clinton's most startling appearance took place this week where the subject was unnamed military officers carping about the Pentagon's Iraqi military plan. At least, that's what Bob Dole dealt with. Bill Clinton simply used it as an excuse to brag about what a great plan he'd had in Kosovo.

"He wants to remind the American people that he did a lot of really good things for this country," says the adviser. "And, in the end, by reminding everyone what a great administration he had, he hopes it will carry over to help whoever runs for president in 2004."

REVIVING THE DRAFT
It wouldn't be fair to call it a ground swell that Al Gore still has some people out there hoping and praying that he will step in and save the Democratic Party in 2004. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the groundswell appears to be limited to two women in Berkeley, California, who have started a website to draft Al Gore to run for President. No word on whether Gore has sent them a donation to keep the site (Draft Gore.com) up and running through 2003.

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