By Barry Hussein, Iraq, BAGHDAD – As costs mount for the pricey Iraq war, bean counters in the US administration have been prodding policymakers to look for cheaper theaters of operation in the upcoming fiscal new year.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) anticipated this morning that come the time its’ new budget comes into effect in April-May later this year the war in Iraq, which has stimulated the imaginations of all ages for the past six years, will cost approximately $12 billion US a month ($1000.00 Canadian dollars).
Some administration cheapskates say it’s not worth it.
“The exchange rate is lousy; no one speaks English; and the service industry is just not going to bring in the tourists needed to jump-start the economy,” said Lance Barnes-Whitman, of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is overseeing the war. “I’d much rather see us getting a better return for our investment come April or May. I’m suggesting we take a good look at some of the opportunities that are opening up in Europe; Portugal may be an option.”
Top Iraqi officials, including Iraqi President Jalal Talibani, have in recent days staged all-night bull sessions with their US counterparts in efforts to salvage the long-running war.
During a midnight hour iphone video conference with US President George W Bush, Talibani, according to press pool reporters present, “looked Mr Bush in the eye” and “reassured him the war would be cheaper” in the next few months.
“I can’t give you a specific number at this moment, this is true,” said Talibani. “But I think we can safely say that 11 billion, nine hundred and ninety-nine million dollars a month is not unrealistic; and this could go cheaper if the circumstances are right.”
But as-yet-untested presidential newbies and US senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton seemed skeptical after poring over VHS copies of Mr Bush’s powwow with the Iraqi head honcho.
“Well, first of all, I think we’d all be best to remember that when the costs for this war began to oscilate I was the only one to stand up and say ‘Hey, this is wrong – the costs are going up, they’re oscillating – and we have to act to make sure they don’t keep going up’,”said Mr Obama, who is trying to be the first black president.
“Well, frankly, I think Barack and I are basically in agreement here, but I have to say that what is really important right at this moment is that the American people choose someone who can sit down with someone like Jalal Talibani – who is a known compulsive shopper – and communicate to him that the American people are not insisting at this point that the entire war be a bargain, but that at least we want to feel we didn’t make a mistake by going into Iraq. And that’s what I’ve been talking about with my Customer Service Plan,” responded Mrs Clinton, who is trying to be the first woman president.
Freshly-cemented Republican presidential nominee John McCain has also weighed in, suggesting recently, on Good Morning America, that the US simply buy the country.
“I think if we made them a good offer, they’d let us buy it, yes,” McCain commented in response to a question by host Sandi Oots. “After all, we bought Canada – and Japan; and those have been pretty good deals I think.”
McCain is trying to be the oldest white male president.
So far, he’s winning.