16 May 2009

War is Economics...Redux

The other day, we discussed the economic situation in Iraq and how it might be influenced by the American drawdown. I decided to share this information with a fellow captain, who, like me, is Irish and thus, possesses the stereotypical Irish hobbies (i.e., drinking).

I discussed the effects of the closure of many combat outposts and forward operating bases, noting that when the Americans left these bases, so did American dollars. This was exceedingly critical, since the global economic downturn has hit Iraq hard, particularly with the massive drop in oil prices; and don't forget, Iraq's security is tied to its ability to sustain a relatively healthy economy.

Aside from the oil industry, Iraq doesn't have that many other opportunities for employment, with the remainder of jobs being either government jobs or in unskilled service. Both of these job markets are sustained with funding from the United States and from the Iraqi government, the latter of which is, in turn, is funded by the aforementioned oil industry.

I compared the economic effects of the troop withdrawal to the "BRAC"--Base Realignment and Closure--process, in which the US military's closure of many bases had the effect of shutting down the only source of revenue and jobs for a number of rural communities.

I noted, "Just take a look at the Sackets Harbor Brewing Company--right after we deployed, they actually started to close down business a few days a week. I guess we were the ones that kept that place in business."

My fellow Irish captain's eyes went wide. "Are you serious?"


"Well, I suppose that might be my fault more than anyone else's. Whereas you had a running tab, I just directed the Army's finance office to pay my bar tab via allotment."

Focus: Take note--if I die, I want my liver buried with full military honors.

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