Every year the US government gives the state of Israel (with a 2006 population of 6.3 million and ranked 36th in GDP per capita, just ahead of New Zealand) $3 billion in direct military and economic aid, and an additional $3 billion in loans and grants. That's a total of $6 billion per year, or about $20 per American per year. Ours is a large country. We can afford $20 per year. So why can't we do the same for Iraq? The end result might be a prosperous and peaceful Iraq, which will allow the US to withdraw without leaving a failed state. Thank you anand and David All for the comments that made me think about this.
PS: Keep in mind that the US has already spent $450 billion on this war, and much more more in the long term.
PPS: I did not realize how much aid the US was giving Iraq. The numbers are quite impressive:
March 27, 2006
U.S. aid skyrocketed in 2005--at least in Iraq
Posted by David Roodman at 12:38 PM
The U.S. Agency for International Development just released its initial estimates of how much foreign aid the U.S. government gave to developing countries in 2005. It submitted the figures as part of normal reporting processes to the Paris-based Development Assistance Committee. The overall figure is a stunner: U.S. Official Development Assistance spiked to $27.5 billion in 2005, from $19.7 billion the year before and $11.4 billion in 2001. Adjusting for inflation, that may match or exceed Marshall Plan giving levels, though it is still far less as a share of the U.S. economy--0.22% instead of some 1.1% in 1948–52 [see Clemens and Radelet (2003) The Millennium Challenge Account: How Much is Too Much, How Long is Long Enough?- Working Paper 23].
Iraq unsurprisingly accounts for the lion's share of the increase, receiving $10.2 billion, up from $3.0 billion the year before. That probably constitutes the largest one-year aid transfer between any two countries ever. And U.S. aid to Afghanistan nearly doubled, from $778 million in 2004 to $1.5 billion in 2005.