Susanna Cornett brings up the children’s story of The Little Red Hen in response to those of us who say war opponents ought to be permitted to bid on contracts in Iraq. That analogy occured to me as well; indeed, I invoked it back in April with respect to giving those countries a role in the decision-making for reconstruction. I do think this situation is different, though. We’re now at a crucial point in the process where we will either need to get substantial international financial support or continue to borrow money from future generations of Americans to finance Iraq’s reconstruction. A bit of compromise is in order, methinks.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. susanna says:

    How does giving contracts to the French lessen the cost to future generations of Americans? Other than in an instance where the possibility of contracts is used as leverage to get them to forgive loans or contribute $$ to the reconstruction. And I’m not sure I like that either.

  2. James Joyner says:

    I think we do indeed use this as a tool for leverage. I’m with Kristol and Kagan on this one: There are useful ways to achieve our goals here. But we can’t simultaneously say they’re locked out, period, from the reconstruction efforts and then expect them to help pay. What we can do, though, is say that projects paid for by the American taxpayer will go to American contractors as much as possible; that only seems fair.

  3. Paul says:

    IF (big if) we want to use it as a bargaining chip FINE… But we better get a hell of a lot in return. (more than france or germany would ever give)

    But you still did not answer the question.

    We’re now at a crucial point in the process where we will either need to get substantial international financial support

    We passed the hat in Madrid and donations far exceeded anything we expected. 50+ nations ponyed up billions of dollars.

    Where is the evidence that we are financially dependent on France? Further where is the evidence they will help?

    The arguments against this are more than visceral as you suggested below. Indeed it is something B.F. Skinner would be proud of.

    I still have not seen one person make the case why we should. (and I’ve seen many people ask) All I’ve seen is some vague reference to French “help” like they’ve ever helped us before.*


    * Yeah, I know about the American Revolution but if you think they were working with us and not against Britain, go read history.

  4. Recall that France’s economy is smaller than California’s – just how much help do you want or expect from a second rate country.

    And if you are so concerned about “future generations”, we can go call those loans the government has outstanding to countries like, say, Russia, and other “friends” who owe us money.

    (and if you were REALLY concerend about future generations owing, you would forget about Iraq and worry about social security and other time bombs which dwarf anything we would ever spend on foreign policy – the “cost” argument is a red herring, so just drop it)