Yesterday in Baghdad, while on a congressional delegation visit, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said that Iraq should repay the United States for the war there that President Bush started in 2003 (some estimates have put total war costs at around $3 trillion when all is said and done). “We would hope that some consideration be given to repaying the United States some of the mega-dollars that we have spent here in the last eight years,” Rohrabacher said. One day prior in Doha, Rohrabacher withdrew his support for the Libyan rebels because, according to the California congressman, they said they would not repay the U.S. for its costs in the air campaign there.
It turns out that the Iraqis didn’t appreciate Rohrabacher’s comments all that much and in fact, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh has asked Rohrabacher to leave Iraq. “We called the US embassy yesterday and we told them to ask the congressmen to leave Iraq,” he told AFP, adding, “We don’t want them here. What they said was inappropriate.” Reuters has more:
“Those people are not welcome in Iraq. They are raising a controversial issue which influences the strategic relation between us and the United States,” he said.
“They are asking for compensation for the war and we are not committed to pay anything to any of the people who participated in the invasion of Iraq,” he told Reuters.
Yesterday, Rohrabacher said that he had told Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in a meeting that Iraq should repay the U.S. but Iraqi government officials said “his congressional delegation had not raised the issue in a meeting” with Maliki.
Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died as a result of Bush’s war. Perhaps Rohrabacher doesn’t think that’s quite enough. But Rohrabacker’s rhetoric is not only embarrassing, it endangers American lives there. One American source serving in Iraq told ThinkProgress, “This is the type of rhetoric that creates violence against the troops. It’s a poster for the Sadr crowd, and everyone else, that we are occupiers, not liberators [and] here for their oil money.”