The cost of Iraqis varies according to use.
The most expensive Iraqi was deceased dictator Saddam Hussein. The Creep From Tikrit was valued at $26 million when American soldiers de-spiderholed him. Twenty-five million of the total was the bounty offered by the U.S. government for a tip leading to his capture and/or death. The additional million came from Bruce Willis.
When the Die Hard star performed with his awful blues band for U.S. soldiers in Iraq, he reportedly offered $1 million to the soldier who captured Saddam Hussein.
"If you catch him, just give me four seconds with Saddam Hussein," Willis said.
That was back in September 2003, when "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker" wasn't just Willis' Die Hard catchphrase, it was America's foreign policy.
At $15 million each, Saddam's sons are the second most expensive Iraqis ever. The tipster who told the U.S. military where to find Uday and Qusay earned $30 million.
Moving on to the Iraqis you and I can afford ... Iraqi cops cost $10 to $20. That's roughly how much they get paid per day for policing a country that Fund For Peace and Foreign Policy magazine says is the second most unstable place on Earth after Sudan. Just typing the words "Iraqi police officer" makes me cringe. It's one of the worst jobs I can imagine.
Incidentally, the worst job I can imagine is "pig-shit taster." It's not a real job. I'm just imagining it.
Iraqi women and girls cost in the neighborhood of $300 and $500. That's according to Nihal Hassan of British newspaper the Independent. Hassan reports there are 50,000 Iraqi women and girls working as prostitutes in Syria. Syria is the top destination for the estimated 2 million Iraqis who've fled the violence of their own country to safety elsewhere.
Hassan's June 24 story describes a nightclub on the outskirts of Syria's capital where pubescent Iraqi girls dance and prostitute themselves for men who come from all over the Persian Gulf region. Hassan witnessed a Saudi man bargaining down the price of sex with a girl from $500 to $300.
In May, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report about the price Americans pay for Iraqis.
According to the report, in 2003, the Pentagon authorized U.S. commanders in Iraq to pay a maximum of $2,500 to the families of civilians killed or injured by U.S. forces.
In 2004, the Pentagon changed the regulations. U.S. commanders could pay $2,500 to the families of civilian Iraqis who were killed by U.S. forces, and $1,500 to innocent civilian Iraqis who were permanently disabled by U.S. combat forces.
If you're a 30-year-old Iraqi baker and the U.S. military accidentally blows your arm off with an errant machine-gun round, you can expect $1,500 from the United States for the hassle. If you live to be 75, that averages out to about $33/year. That's not much, but maybe he's lucky enough to have a wife and daughter sending him money from their jobs in Syria.
There are exceptions to this rule. In so-called "extraordinary" cases, a division commander can authorize payment of up to $10,000, in which case the armless baker would be pulling in a cool $222/year for the rest of his life.
Iraqis can count themselves especially lucky if they're killed by U.S. forces in a noncombat event.
If an American tank accidentally runs a red light in downtown Baghdad and crushes you inside your 2007 Toyota Camry (the best-selling car in America for eight of the past nine years), your family can file for restitution under the Foreign Claims Act.
Assuming their claim is accepted, they can expect to receive around $19,000 for the Camry. It would rise to $23,000 if you had a V6, leather interior and alloy rims. And that's on top of the $2,500 they got paid for your death.
I miss Stefan's Vintage Clothing!
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