How much is the USA really spending in Iraq?

 A story in today’s New York Times details one “small” aspect of what we are spending in Iraq these days. Just in case you might have forgotten that’s the country we recently pulled all our troops out of. 

We spent of $750 million building a new US embassy complex. This is not small building. The complex has a workout facility, swimming pool, grocery store, and much more. For that much money I hope it was a while lot more. 

But this gets better…

The current budget to run this theme park is $6 billion a year. For one country. And the people of Iraq don’t seem to want us there. 

How many people do you think staff this sprawling plantation?  16,000!

You read that right. There are currently 16,000 people staffing the place. I think that is more than all the other embassies in the region combined. 

What are they thinking? 

Could they find a way to cut the budget to something closer to a meager billion dollars and only a thousand people? If they could maybe we could use the saved $5 billion to improve a schools here on our own soil. Or maybe even do something crazy like retire a little of our huge national debt. 

What can we do to get the Iraqis to use some of their oil money instead of our money.  We have been sort of running low lately.

Have we upset Iraq with a few surveillance drones?

Jalal Talabani - President of Iraq

Oh no… It looks like we may have upset Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq by possibly flying some surveillance drones around Bagdad. I guess he doesn’t quite understand how many US cirtizens are still in his country to help him keep things from falling apart. Sure our combat troops are back home but they left behind over 40,000 people. The US Embassy alone has over 11,000 employees.

Another factoid is that Iraq’s oil sector, which accounts for more than 90% of the government’s budget, relies heavily on tens of thousands of foreign employees to keep the oil and the cash flowing.

Since the US military has cleared out of the country I guess some way is needed to keep an eye on US citizens risking their lives there. These Drones seem like a good way. If Mr. Talabani doesn’t like it, and he has been making trouble for these hard working people for a while, then he should probably give all the US citizens their walking papers and send them home.

But I don’t think he will do that.