Even as the United States has been borrowing trillions to pursue its wars in the Middle East, the government of Iraq has posted a tidy surplus, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.
The report makes a direct link between U.S. government spending — including $642 billion on U.S. military operations there and $24 billion for training and equipping the Iraqi security forces — and Iraq’s cumulative surplus of $52.1 billion through the end of 2009.
For comparison purposes, Iraq’s annual gross domestic product is $65.8 billion. Meanwhile, the U.S. national debt has soared from $6.4 trillion to $13.4 trillion since former president George W. Bush invaded Iraq and decided to borrow the money for wars and slash taxes.
The GAO report concludes with an understated recommendation that “Congress may wish to consider Iraq’s available financial resources” when reviewing future funding requests to support the Iraqi security forces.
The report notes that the Obama administration is currently requesting $2 billion in additional U.S. funding in its fiscal year 2011 budget request to support the training and equipping of Iraq’s military and police.