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Iraq must pay for more of its own bill

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Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

U.S. troops left Iraq in December 2011 but America and its allies are still spending millions of dollars on reconstruction there — while Baghdad's oil revenue booms and it cozies up to Iran.

And this throwing of good money after bad — America spent about $60 billion on reconstruction during the Iraq War — will continue at least through 2014, The Washington Times reports. At Baghdad's request, the United States and 16 other nations have extended by a year an Iraq reconstruction trust fund — to which they've donated almost $2 billion — that was to expire Dec. 31.

The United Nations says Iraq's oil revenue has grown to nearly $100 billion annually. Half the fund's projects were unfinished — leaving at least $54 million unused — at 2012's end. Yet the U.S. this year also is providing Iraq with $470 million in foreign aid and wants to hike that figure to $500 million for 2014. Washington also plans to lend Iraq $573 million to buy U.S. military equipment.

The State Department says all this largess is a matter of maintaining a “strategic partnership” with Iraq. Yet Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, part of Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, has done little about rising, deadly Shiite-Sunni violence that increasingly involves Sunni al-Qaida fighters and has let Iran fly weapons to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad through Iraqi airspace. Some “partner,” eh?

America must stop squandering taxpayer dollars on Iraq, which is not a reliable ally and has increasingly ample resources of its own for its own reconstruction.

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