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November 02, 2003

THE MEMORY HOLE REVISITED....April 23, 2003, USAID administrator Andrew Natsios chats with Ted Koppel about the cost of rebuilding Iraq on Nightline:

TED KOPPEL
(Off Camera) And we're back once again with Andrew Natsios, administrator for the Agency for International Development. I want to be sure that I understood you correctly. You're saying the, the top cost for the US taxpayer will be $1.7 billion. No more than that?

ANDREW NATSIOS
For the reconstruction. And then there's 700 million in the supplemental budget for humanitarian relief, which we don't competitively bid 'cause it's charities that get that money.

TED KOPPEL
(Off Camera) I understand. But as far as reconstruction goes, the American taxpayer will not be hit for more than $1.7 billion no matter how long the process takes?

ANDREW NATSIOS
That is our plan and that is our intention. And these figures, outlandish figures I've seen, I have to say, there's a little bit of hoopla involved in this.

This is from the Google cache. Oddly, though, it seems to have been removed from the USAID site itself — although the link is still alive and well here. Why do you suppose that is?

Posted by Kevin Drum at November 2, 2003 08:50 AM | TrackBack


Comments

That whole interview is well worth a read. What a bunch of baloney!
______
TED KOPPEL
(Off Camera) All right, this is the first. I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?

ANDREW NATSIOS
Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do, this is it for the US. 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.
__________

Posted by: JakeV at November 2, 2003 09:01 AM | PERMALINK

The obvious answer is censorship of stuff that makes Bush look bad.

Posted by: Drew at November 2, 2003 09:03 AM | PERMALINK

The DNC, if it was interested in advancing the fortunes of its candidates, both for president and for congress, would be making commercials that show these quotes, followed by the truth. The tag line at the end would be something like "Were they not telling the truth? Or is it that they just don't know what they're doing?"

I would tithe to the DNC if they ran commercials like that.

Is there a reason that they don't?

Posted by: James E. Powell at November 2, 2003 09:16 AM | PERMALINK

I was reading a report, 2003 has been the worse year in terms of censorship all over the world.
We are regressing.

Posted by: Frenchy at November 2, 2003 09:17 AM | PERMALINK

And while we're on the subject. . .CBS caved.

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at November 2, 2003 09:42 AM | PERMALINK

Just yesterday, on this very site, I predicted the deletion of the word "Iraq" from the American media as it has already been deleted from the White House website. Now it has begun. Only now are my godlike powers manifesting themselves!

Posted by: John Isbell at November 2, 2003 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Natsios has a long and distinguished career of being wildly wrong about everything.

That aside, the real story here is once again the astounding narcolepsy of our media. Presumably, Koppel works in association with ABC News; Koppel has just been told--by a senior Administration official---the US price tag for reconstructing Iraq won't exceed $2B.

Later when Bush Jr. is asking for $87B on top of the already spent $90B--where's Koppel and ABC?

When Paul Bremer says the cost to rebuild Iraq "cannot be exaggerated"--where is ABC News?

Posted by: JadeGold at November 2, 2003 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

for people who wanted to check, as I did.

Look at the URL Kevin gave:
http://www.usaid.gov/updates/apr/

Scroll down to :

April 29, 2003

The text for the link that now 404s is:
USAID: Assistance for Iraq - Nightline: Project Iraq, April 23, 2003 Transcript

And the link itself (now 404ing) is
http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/vid_042403.html

K

Posted by: k at November 2, 2003 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Jagegold asks:

"Later when Bush Jr. is asking for $87B on top of the already spent $90B--where's Koppel and ABC?"

I didn't hear abou the natsios quote when it actually happened. I heard it later on at least one occasion when Koppel returned to it. Here's an example from October 1, 2003

====begin quote

TED KOPPEL

(Off Camera) It was the end last April, the major combat phase of the war in Iraq had been declared over. And for the first time, US officials were getting a close-up look at the damage on the ground. They knew, for example, that it would take some time, a few years in fact, before Iraqi oil production would be generating any real income for the country. They could tell that the infrastructure, the power grid, the phone system, water purification plants, the roads, all of it was in bad shape and would also require a lot of money and work. They also knew since it was a United States that disbanded the Iraqi army that eventually they would have to start from scratch in rebuilding Iraqi security forces, military, and police. What I'm saying here is that the Bush Administration knew, or should have known, that the reconstruction of Iraq was going to cost a ton of money. But if senior officials knew it, they certainly weren't admitting it. Listen to an exchange I had on April 23rd, with Andrew Natsios, the administrator of USAID, the Agency for International Development.

TED KOPPEL

(Off Camera) I understand that more money is expected to be spent on this than was spent on the entire Marshal Plan for the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.

ANDREW NATSIOS,

US AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

No, no, no, no. This doesn't even compare remotely with the size of the Marshal Plan.

TED KOPPEL

(Off Camera) The Marshal Plan was $97 billion.

ANDREW NATSIOS

This is $1.7 billion.

TED KOPPEL

(Off Camera) This is the first -I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is going to be done for $1.7 billion?

ANDREW NATSIOS

Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do. This is it for the US. 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.

TED KOPPEL

(Off Camera) Here we are five months later and Congress is considering the Administration's request for an additional $87 billion, most of it to go for the support of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. But about $20 billion of which, is in fact, earmarked for the reconstruction of Iraq.

===end quote

That's one example. I seem to recall others.

So don't blame Koppel. :-)

K

Posted by: k at November 2, 2003 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

My God, how many documents can they put out? There are about 50 every single day!

Posted by: Thomas Dent at November 2, 2003 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hey David, yes IMO opinion it is censorship. You know a movie has always been about the opinion of the Producer. Now if Faux can't digest it, does it mean there are some reasons between the reagan years and the Bush administration? I did not watch the movie yet, since I am from Europe, but in the first place i am not agree with the opinion from Faux News. Personnally I don't have good memories about Reagan, especially not good memories at all with south america, although he tried to use the medias as an actor before he was a president:) So what? It is up to the american watchers to make up their own mind and certainly not Fhawks News to tell them what to do about the movie. It is indeed a way to ask them to do censorship.
That sucks when it comes to movie's productions and freedom of speech in the US.
I am so glad I have nothing to do with these laws.

Posted by: Frenchy at November 2, 2003 04:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm getting a message that the file no longer exists. I'm somehow not surprised that they are embarrassed by that interview. No getting it back in the can now, however.

Posted by: Davei at November 2, 2003 08:46 PM | PERMALINK

The link is now gone as well. Someone curious enough should call USAID to find out the official explanation for why the document has gone missing. Here's their contact info:

----

If you are a member of the press, you may contact our press relations office at:

U.S. Agency for International Development
Office of Press Relations
Ronald Reagan Building
Washington, D.C. 20523-0016
Telephone: 202-712-4320
FAX: 202-216-3524

Posted by: Kip at November 4, 2003 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Please — a little charity toward the Busholes. They simply misplaced the file. That isn't censorship, just a mistake.

Help them out. Take your copy of the Google cache, and e-mail it to webmaster@info.usaid.gov , and explain how this will fix their 404 error. I did.

Send a copy of your file to your local newspaper, too. Information is precious, and the FOIA (Freedom of Info Act) makes it a felony to purge files like this.

Busholes aren't felons. Much. So help them out and send them back a copy of the file.

Posted by: Aunt Martha at December 18, 2003 02:44 PM | PERMALINK

I just finished reading Animal Farm, and I recently read 1984 (both by George Orwell). While I realize that what is happening right now - this removal of information, a spy on your neighbor (or your local arabic fellow...) type of attitude, and even a deliberate change in a headline (as reported by the Washington Post, "After the insurrection in Iraq proved more stubborn than expected, the White House edited the original headline on its Web site of President Bush's May 1 speech, "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended," to insert the word "Major" before combat.) - is not nearly to the scale on which it was happening in 1984, it is the same kind of concept, and it is scaring me. What the hell is happening here? Why are so many people being taken in by Bush, and how can we change that? Those are a couple of questions I've pondered, and I would love some responses.

Posted by: SR at December 18, 2003 03:26 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/vid_032703.html#transcript

This is a link to a story on the USAID website quoting the same $1.7 B quote.

Two questions:

1) Should we hold the estimates made inside of the month of March 2003 as the absolute final benchmark in determining the final contribution to aid Iraq?

2) For there to be true dishonesty (or as you infer, conspiracy), you would have to prove that every piece of testimonial information from Natsios referring to the $1.7Billion be stricken from the USAID website, not just one, correct?

Posted by: Eric Taller at December 23, 2003 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Nice point Eric!

just about puts an end to this discussion, as bent as it was.

Posted by: Matt Kettelhut at December 31, 2003 07:10 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone, this discussion is not over at all...not one bit.

When I saw the USAID actually had the gaul to put up a transcript of the interview on their site I made sure as hell to keep a copy.

When the Washington Post decided to do an article on it, I went apeshit...

See December 18th, White House Web Scrubbing by Dana Milbank

I forwarded my copy to Mr Aftergood, which can be found here:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/temp/natsios042303.html

I have been calling for Natsios' immediate resignation. He is clearly incompetent and/or a lying rat. I would bet on the latter.

Then, in a surprising twist, I discovered this:

http://www.globaltreatmentaccess.org/content/press_releases/a01/060901_BG_HGAP_Natsios.html

It is truly unbelievable the people we have running the show these days. Washington is awash in corruption and I for one am disgusted.

Posted by: Bandito Yanquis at January 15, 2004 04:53 PM | PERMALINK

And to respond to your post: see below

******************
Two questions:

1) Should we hold the estimates made inside of the month of March 2003 as the absolute final benchmark in determining the final contribution to aid Iraq?

If you read the interview, Mr. Natsios clearly states $1.7 is the limit that the administration will request from U.S. taxpayers for the entire operation. He emphatically argued it would not go above that figure.

2) For there to be true dishonesty (or as you infer, conspiracy), you would have to prove that every piece of testimonial information from Natsios referring to the $1.7Billion be stricken from the USAID website, not just one, correct?

No, not correct. The $1.7 billion number still left on the USAID Web site refers to Congress' appropriation to the USAID for reconstruction. However in the Nightline interview, Koppel's line of questioning did not revolve around the USAID appropriation, but dealt more with the TOTAL COST OF RECONSTRUCTION...I find it hard to believe Natsios did not understand Mr. Koppel.

He is a lying rat people.

Posted by: Bandito Yanquis at January 15, 2004 05:00 PM | PERMALINK

For anybody who's interested, here's my copy of the transcript that was taken down.

Posted by: Banditos Yanquis at May 4, 2004 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

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