How many pallets is a billion dollars

Pallets full of banknotes

In 2003 and 2004, 363 tons of banknotes with a value of 4 billion dollars were brought into Iraq by aircraft from New York and seeped away there

The war in Iraq began with wild claims by the US government that the ailing regime's alleged weapons of mass destruction could be buried somewhere if they couldn't be found (Rumsfeld and the proof of God). A few million dollars were then found in boxes and when Hussein was captured in his hiding place, 750,000 dollars, where the billions that the dictator had or that his son is said to have taken from the bank, remained unknown. Instead, when Paul Bremer took over the administration of Iraq after the war, billions of US funds disappeared in a hitherto unexplained manner. That was not a big issue so far, but now the Democratic MP Waxman has taken over the leadership of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and immediately asked Bremer where, for example, the four billion dollars that were flown to Iraq in banknotes went be.

Iraq was quickly captured in 2003, as planned, and the Hussein regime was overthrown. As is well known, the White House did not have an implemented plan of what to do with liberated Iraq. It was assumed that the people would be grateful and would take up the offer to quickly build a democratic state that would be pleasant to the USA, which would then serve as a model for the restructuring of the entire region in the sense of the positive domino theory. Almost 19 billion dollars in reconstruction aid had been approved by Congress, and it was assumed that the reconstruction could be paid for with Iraqi oil, so that not only the large oil resources would be secured, but also the American economy and that of the few allies the reconstruction would benefit. Billions from the UN's oil-for-food program were also in the pot.

As early as 2004, Henry Waxman set out on the trail of the billions that had seeped away in Iraq after it became clear at the end of 2003 that the US civil administration had spent full money from the UN fund without any proof of use flowed into the development fund controlled by the US administration?). But even if at least the recipient of the money was known, there was no control. Corruption, disappearance and enrichment were the order of the day. Without a tender, for example, Halliburton, the company that Cheney had previously headed, received 1.9 billion alone, of which there are no where-used lists for 1.4 billion. What happened to the money that flowed into Iraq through the current oil sale is also not very precise, it was not even clear how much they had actually earned. Shortly before the handover of power to the Iraqi interim government, the civil administration quickly took another two billion euros from the fund for vague "security purposes", while in 2004 the funds approved by Congress for reconstruction were barely touched - a fatal mistake, as it soon became clear because a large part of the discontent was caused by the extremely slow and highly corruption reconstruction of the destroyed infrastructure (electricity, clean drinking water, sewage) and the high unemployment.

During the hearing, Waxman reiterated some strange details about the US civil administration's handling of the money. For at least 12 billion, mainly from the UN fund, there were no controls. Waxman Bremer alleged that money might even have got into the hands of insurgents. He only referred to the prevailing chaos after the war and stated that his task was to get the economy started quickly.

Four billion dollars, the recipient and purpose of which Waxman wants to determine, came from the Federal Reserve Bank. Curiously, the four billion dollar bills were spent and the resulting mountains of money, weighing 363 tons, were transported to Iraq on large pallets in military aircraft in 2003 and 2004. You urgently had to pay salaries and pensions to millions of people, says Bremer now. The Iraqi Ministry of Finance requested the money, and banks did not exist at the time. Bremer stated that he did not know of any money that had been squandered. Republican MP Dan Burton came to his aid, saying that a wasted money hearing is not "constructive" when you are in a war on terrorists. (Florian Rötzer)

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