Saturday, October 21, 2006

Burning Our Money... For Real

The cash machine has landed

"A secret slush fund of more than £1million sent to Afghanistan to bribe local warlords was destroyed when the Special Forces aircraft carrying it burst into flames as it came in to land.

The cash - all in brand new American notes - was packed into two four-wheel-drive vehicles being carried on the RAF Hercules C-130 plane.

Officially, the money was to support 'development projects' in Helmand. But a military source said: "We knew little about Helmand and needed to gather intelligence fast. It doesn't matter where you go in the world, people respond to cash. In Helmand, warlords who run the narcotics business have a lot of influence - and we needed to have that influence on our side."

Actually, I have no problem arming the SAS with cash: it's a lot safer than their normal kit. And I've always felt we should use it more extensively to deprave and corrupt our enemies.

As Matthew Parris suggested yesterday, if the aim of the Iraq War really was to to topple Saddam, couldn't we have saved a lot of bloodshed (and money) simply by offering him $20bn and legal immunity to leave for Switzerland?

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