AMY GOODMAN: We turn to a clip of Andrew Natsios, the former administrator of USAID, the Agency for International Development. During an appearance on Nightline with Ted Koppel in April of 2003, Natsios predicted it would cost the United States $1.7 billion to rebuild Iraq.
TED KOPPEL: I think you’ll agree, this is a much bigger project than any that’s been talked about. Indeed, I understand that more money is expected to be spent on this than was spent on the entire Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.
ANDREW NATSIOS: No, no, no, no. This doesn’t even compare remotely with the size of the Marshall Plan.
TED KOPPEL: The Marshall Plan was $97 billion.
ANDREW NATSIOS: This is $1.7 billion. There have been—
TED KOPPEL: Alright, this is the first. I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you’re not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is going to be done for $1.7 billion.
ANDREW NATSIOS: Well, in terms of the American taxpayers’ contribution, I do. This is it for the US. The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other countries who have already made pledges—Britain, Germany, Norway, Japan, Canada—and Iraqi oil revenues. Eventually, in several years, when it’s up and running and there’s a new government that’s been democratically elected, will finish the job with their own revenues. They’re going to get in $20 billion a year in oil revenues. But the American part of this will be $1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this.
TED KOPPEL: I want to be sure that I understood you correctly. You’re saying that the top cost for the US taxpayer will be $1.7 billion, no more than that?
ANDREW NATSIOS: For the reconstruction. And then there’s $700 million in the supplemental budget for humanitarian relief, which we don’t competitively bid, because it’s charities that get that money.
TED KOPPEL: I understand. But as far as reconstruction goes, the American taxpayer will not be hit for more than $1.7 billion no matter how long the process takes?
ANDREW NATSIOS: That is correct. That is the plan, and that is our intention. And these figures of these outlandish figures I’ve seen, I have to say, there’s a little bit of hoopla involved in this.