|The price of a man
Offer Saddam a fraction of the cost of war
By Saba Nejad
March 19, 2003
By the time this piece goes to print, the "allied forces" (or what
is left of it) may have already entered the Iraqi soil. Yet, I cannot help but join
the bandwagon of those dispensing wisdom on how to manage our conflict dejur.
Lately, I've been hearing all kinds of proposals on how to mitigate our quarrel with
Saddam Hussein. The most creative ones have been those outlining peaceful means of
negotiating some kind of transaction with the man.
Well, I've got one too. Saddam's net-worth has been estimated anywhere from $2.5
billion to over $5 billion. Given the fact that the man must have money stashed away
all over Switzerland in unnamed accounts, I don't know how can anyone come up with
a scientific number. But, let's take the high estimate of $5 billion - after all
what is $2.5 billion here or there when you are sitting at a high-stakes poker table?
My proposal is this: why doesn't the "allied forces" open up the bidding
process by offering Mr. Hussein $5 billion to leave Iraq with his family and entourage.
I can't see why this is not a fair offer. Doubling your net worth in one single transaction?
Wall Street cowboys would kill for a deal like that, metaphorically speaking of course!
Ok, let's not get excited. I know it seems overly simplistic. But, who knows what
the man's real motivations are anymore. He is fast reaching the retirement age and
the prospects of having a $10 billion golden parachute has got to be appealing.
Who is going to approach him with the offer, you ask? What his name? Dan Rather,
yeah he's the one. Have Dan's girl call Sad's girl regarding a follow-up interview
and once they are in one room, facing each other and going into a break, that's when
the magic happens.
Where does the money come from, you ask? The U.S. government has placed a $100 billion
estimate on the cost of this military intervention. And we know how accurate they
are in cost estimating their projects. If this is not coming from the pockets of
John and Jane Doe the tax-payer then I don't know where. Giving up $5 instead of
$100 is a math that even my 12-year-old can appreciate.
But wait. Let's turn our attention to all those peace-loving nations of Europe who
would rather "love thy (distant) neighbor" than fight. It seems to me they
have as much skin in this game as the U.S., if not more. If a large part of their
refusal to back a unified coalition against Saddam is to protect their ongoing economic
interests in Iraq, then make them put up the money. Especially, who is to say Saddam
with his poker face will accept our opening bid?
That's when we need the help of our European "allies". Come on boys, anti