Notes: Bush family troubleshooter, former Secretary of State James Baker, is negotiating with countries to reduce and restructure Iraq's foreign debt. Baker, who seems to be ultra-competent at achieving goals, was Bush's point man in Florida three years ago during the contested election.

Apparently, forgiving the loans by the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan and other nations is in fact necessary for Iraq to rebound financially. Still the irony that we first supported Saddam by making loans to Iraq while he was in charge, then toppled him and now want tax payers to pick up the tab is worth noting.

When America was lending money to Saddam, we supported him in the war between Iraq and Iran. Moreover, it was believed then that his relations with the former Soviet Union were eroding and that the U.S. could woo him away to our side of the cold war with some financial affection. We knew Saddam was a bad guy in those days, but the difference was he was "our" bad guy
. 01.04.04