L. Paul Bremer
Coalition Provisional Authority Administrator
Remarks on Importance of Supplemental
15 October 2002
Because the Presidents supplemental budget is central to the work we are doing in Iraq I have been following events on Capitol Hill very closely.
We have made considerable progress here in the six months since the liberation of Baghdad. Electricity is back at pre-war levels, oil production is three months ahead of the plan, hospitals and schools are open. But a great task remains before the Iraqi people and the Coalition.
Saddam Hussein and his cronies wrecked the political and economic structures of Iraq. Their repression, military adventurism, corruption, and economic mismanagement have done staggering damage to the security apparatus and, especially, the economic infrastructure.
The Presidents supplemental budget addresses these problems as part of a carefully considered plan that will yield results. I am confident that Congress recognizes the importance of funding this plan.
Some in Congress reportedly favor giving the money to Iraq as a loan rather than as a grant. This would be a mistake. The people of Iraq already face a mountain of Saddam-era debt. We should not add to it. Imposing unpayable debt burdens on Germany following World War I is now recognized as a major contributing factor to German economic and social collapse in the 1920sthe collapse which cleared Hitlers rise to power. We learned the lesson and after the Second World War the American people helped rebuild a security, stable Europe with the Marshall Plan.
I hope that Congress will recognize that American Forces cannot be liberators and bill collectors at the same time. Iraq is now at the center of our war on terror. We need to support rapid and sustainable economic progress in Iraq if we are to win this war. Just as was the case in Europe, our investment now in Iraq will pay dividends here and in the region long into the future.