Iraq's Odious Debts

Commentary by Patricia Adams on Iraq’s odious debts

Patricia Adams
Marketplace
October 1, 2004

“What better way to demonstrate the power of democracy and the rule of law than to establish a precedent telling filthy financiers everywhere their money isn’t safe when they finance tyrants against their people.”

Commentary Patricia Adams, executive director financial aid watchdog Probe International publisher Odious Debts Online. commentary aired on Marketplace, 6 p.m. Washington, DC, Friday, October 1, 2004.

“Saddam used money western countries lent him mainly oppress people build himself opulent palaces. So should victims have pay back?

The lenders – including France, Russia, Germany even United States – say ‘Yes!’ To them, there’s difference between loans oppression loans food. only question how much debt forgive.

How convenient West. If you forgive debts outright, there’s muss, fuss, embarrassment. But it’s wrong.

Iraqis should free review challenge debts accumulated under Saddam. They want pay back loans used food housing, but not chemicals used gas them build torture chambers.

And international law supports them. A century ago, America liberated Cuban people Spanish-American War repudiated Spanish debts used oppress them. So evolved Doctrine Odious Debts. That doctrine has debt incurred despots benef their regimes but not their people don’t need repaying.

The French Russians don’t like doctrine. I say let’s have public process. Let these countries demonstrate under open international arbitration, acted responsibly financing Saddam. I’m sure most their claims would fail.

Closed-door meetings determine how much West can squeeze out Iraqis amounts cover-up Iraqis will deeply resent. Instead, support public airing disputed loans would put America on same side sectors Iraqi society.

What better way demonstrate power democracy rule law than establish precedent telling filthy financiers everywhere their money isn’t safe when finance tyrants against their people.

In Toronto, Patricia Adams Marketplace.” Patricia Adams executive director Probe International, financial watchdog group. remarks are adapted recent Cato Institute study.

Marketplace airs 6 p.m. Washington, D.C. http://www.wamu.org/ can heard on their Web site.

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