Blogs > Cliopatria > So the U.S. Is the First Country Not to Increase Taxes to Pay for a War?

Nov 10, 2004 4:24 pm

So the U.S. Is the First Country Not to Increase Taxes to Pay for a War?

Steven Aftergood, in Secrecy News, from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy (Volume 2004, Issue No. 99 November 10, 2004):

The Bush Administration's policy of cutting taxes while launching a war in Iraq is extraordinary, but is it unprecedented? Not quite.

"It seems hard to believe," wrote historian Otto Friedrich in a history of Berlin in the 1920s, "but the incredible fact is that Imperial Germany's conservative finance officials never levied a single mark in extra taxes to pay the gigantic costs of World War I."

"The German government planned, apparently, to recover its expenses out of the reparations that the enemy would have to pay once Hindenburg and Ludendorff had captured Paris."

But as it turned out, it was France that ended up demanding reparations from Germany, with fateful consequences, not the other way around. (O. Friedrich, "Before the Deluge," 1995 edition, p. 60).

One recalls the illusory assurances of the Bush Administration that the rebuilding of Iraq would cost American taxpayers a grand total of
$1.7 billion.

"You're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?" asked an incredulous Ted Koppel in a 2003 ABC News Nightline interview with Andrew Natsios, then-administrator of the Agency for International Development (AID).

"Well, in terms of the American taxpayers' contribution, I do, this is it for the US," Mr. Natsios replied.

"The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other countries who have already made pledges, Britain, Germany, Norway, Japan, Canada, and Iraqi oil revenues, eventually in several years, when it's up and running and there's a new government that's been democratically elected, will finish the job with their own revenues. They're going to get in $20 billion a year in oil revenues. But the American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this."

The transcript of this April 23, 2003 Nightline interview was quietly removed from the AID web site last year (as reported by the Washington Post on 12/18/03). But a copy is preserved here (thanks to BY):

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