Monday, December 28, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
A 23 year old Nigerian, Abdul Mudallad set off an incendiary device strapped to his leg. during the flight. Apparently a devout practicing idiot, Mudallad succeeded only in setting fire to his trousers and leg before flight attendants put him out by throwing water on him.
Is there something odd about Muslims getting upset about Islamophobia and demanding full and generous tolerance of themselves and their religion, yet themselves tolerating no one? Until Jews and Christians have equal rights and status with Muslims in Muslim countries, I see no reason why Muslims are entitled to ask for equal rights and status in western countries.
We may want to extend equal rights to all for reasons of our constitution and our own notions of equal treatment. It does not follow that Muslims have any right or moral standing to ask for equal treatment, let alone demand it. The correct answer to charges of Islamophobia is to laugh in the hypocrites' faces.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
I bought the most widely used primer paint, which is also the cheapest, Kilz II. I tried it and it didn't work. The stain went through it like prunes through a baby. So I went back and got the Glidden primer. It is a few dollars more but one can see right away that it is much better paint.
It doesn't work either but you feel much better about yourself after you use it. The stain went through it like the government through money. When it is dry I will go back and get oil-based primer.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
From today's Seattle Times-
Haq convicted on all counts in Jewish Federation shootings
A King County jury this morning found Naveed Haq guilty of eight counts, including aggravated first-degree murder, in the 2006 shootings at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. The murder verdict carries an automatic life sentence for Haq.
The jury also found Haq, 34, guilty of five counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of unlawful imprisonment and one count of malicious harassment, the state's hate-crime law.
Haq showed no reaction as the verdicts were read, but several people in the courtroom tearfully hugged.
Several of the victims were seated in the courtroom this morning as the verdicts were read. They testified during both trials, reliving what happened when Haq walked into the federation offices on July 28, 2006, and started shooting indiscriminately at employees. Killed was Pamela Waechter, 58, and wounded were Cheryl Stumbo, Carol Goldman, Dayna Klein, Christina Rexroad and Layla Bush.
Prosecutors said he was driven by a hatred for Israel.
Prosecutors also introduced as evidence audio recordings from 10 phone calls Haq placed to his family after his arrest. In the calls, recorded by the King County Jail, Haq told his mother he was "a soldier of Islam."
Witnesses testified that Haq, who is of Pakistani heritage, railed against Jews and U.S.-Israeli policies as he opened fire in the Jewish Federation, an umbrella organization for the local Jewish community that raises money for social-welfare organizations, runs youth and adult educational programs, and engages in efforts in support of Israel.
On the 911 tape, which the prosecution played for jurors on Oct. 21, the opening day of the trial, Haq said he was tired of the world ignoring the Muslim point of view.
"I don't care if I die," Haq said to the dispatcher. "This is just to make a point."
It would be politically incorrect to say Haq's motive for murder and attempted murder was Islam. It would however be correct in every other way.
At what point do we drop the fig leaf of pretending away the obvious? This just has to stop. Immigration from Muslim countries to the US must be restricted.
Friday, December 11, 2009
It occurred to me once that the Big Bang means that everything has a common origin, that everything that happens is a common process. That the universe is all one big thing, not a bunch of smaller things. It means that only one big thing is happening, not a bunch of smaller things. Or at least that that is one legitimate way to look at it. In our tiny part of it, all life has common ancestors. All living things are cousins.
And our individual lives are not just patterns and processes, in modern parlance they are programs running on the matter of our bodies. Death is when the matter reboots and the program and data ones and zeroes are simultaneously set to all zeroes. Where we go after death is where that email message you worked on writing for an hour goes when your pc crashes. We don't go anywhere. Like your email message, we just aren't there any more.
And at last, in the shower I understood a passage in Spinoza that had gone over my head when I read it. I had thought that Hashem is the universe, the entirety of everything that is, and everything that has ever happened, and the entirely of everything that ever will happen. The short expression for that is the whole space-time continuum from the Big Bang until the end of time. In scientific terms, it is the synclastic infidibulum, or SI.
But I never much liked that formulation because it is both materialist and pantheist. Those are both deadend philosophies and unsatisfying because they don't help one understand things any better than one already does. They don't lead anywhere.
Spinoza described that Everything that ever was, is, or ever will be, as the face of G_d. But that face he said, was only a part of the whole, the way a surface is only an aspect of a solid object.
So what the hell is the rest? What is Hashem? In the shower it occurred to me that the entirety of all that ever was, is, or will be - the SI - is what is or can be known by human beings. And the rest, presumably vastly more, is the unknowable. The sum of the knowable and unknowable is Hashem.
What is peculiar about this definition is that it depends in part on human beings. The boundary between the two realms within Hashem is set by human intelligence and by human history. We can only know what we can understand with our intelligence. And we can only know what we have found out so far in our history.
The common scientific (a pretentious word for materialist) atheist explainer says that nothing is unknowable. In the end everything will yield to human intelligence and inquiry. This is a grand statement, coming from a ground ape. And flatly contradicted by quantum mechanics.
But Hashem in a sense is no different than people. At first all one knows of them is their surface, their face. As one gets to know them better one learns more about them, begins to see beneath the surface. When one develops an intimate relationship, comes to love them, one sees deeper still. One accepts them, and feels their nature more even than one understands it.
I remember one time actually listening to the Jewish liturgy rather than just stumbling through its seemingly endless pieties. And what struck me how emphatically and persistently it expresses the love of life and of the world. Much of our liturgy is ancient, written in times when brutal persecutions and the worst imaginable miseries were not history nor somewhere else but here and now and every day. And it was those very people who wrote that liturgy. How was that possible? Was it just fantasy and escapism? Were they crazy and in denial? No, they were the most reality-oriented people of their time - merchants, doctors, lawyers, scholars, advisers to princes.
I think they must have regarded the pogroms, inquisitions, expropriations, expulsions, plagues, and famines that befell them as we regard the tantrums of a beloved child. Their love of the world ran deeper than the current woe.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Lou Grant wearing a tuxedo, drinking heavily in a bar, to Mary Richards: "First came the separation. then the divorce. Now she's remarried. Mary, don't you see what it all means?"
Mary: "No. What?"
Lou: "It means Edie and I are drifting apart."
Only later did I realize that I felt that he left me because he didn't love me enough to stay. And that it was my fault for not having been a good enough son nor a success for him to want to stay. I woke up devastated.
That day Harvey and I were playing tennis and I told him about my dream. Harvey said that learning how to die was our task in life as we got into (and now beyond) middle age.
The death of my friend Jay Trachman two weeks ago has brought mortality sharply to the front of my concerns. And I know what to do about it too. Harvey more than once has told me what to do about life, and thus how to get ready for death - "Get on with it"
Saturday, December 05, 2009
from today's New York Times:
A 46-year-old Binghamton University graduate student from Saudi Arabia was charged on Saturday with killing a retired anthropology professor, a specialist in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, with whom he had worked, the authorities said. The student, Abdulsalam S. al-Zahrani, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of the professor, Richard T. Antoun, who was stabbed in his office in the university’s Science I building on Friday afternoonSince we know from frequent reassurance that there is no connection between Islam and violence, this was yet another in a seemingly endless string of amazing coincidences reaching back to the time of Muhammad.
Here is a quote from SUNY-Binghamton's website:
Shaping Your FuturePerhaps it is time to reconsider this conventional fantasy about multiculturalism and diversity in light of persistent Muslim violence. Diversity is good if it produces benefits to the community. Muslims are demonstrating that diversity is not a good in itself.
Binghamton University offers over 55 graduate programs within an exciting, culturally diverse community. The University’s suburban and urban campuses foster world-renowned research, scholarship and creative exploration, augmenting the already distinguished legacy and international reputation of the Graduate School and its world-class scholar-teachers.
Monday, November 30, 2009
The proof is in the politics. American mosques are all infiltrated by the FBI. If they rarely found anything the political pressure on them to stop spying on the houses of worship of innocent people would soon become intolerable. Just as it would if they were spying on synagogues or Mormon tabernacles, not least because it would soon prove a ridiculous waste of time and money. But FBI spying on mosques generally finds plenty and there have been several prosecutions and far more sudden leavings of the country to avoid prosecution.
It is actually the reverse of what Christy supposes. Christianity teaches that people should be loving and unselfish. The vast majority, even in a religious society, let alone in a secular one, can't be bothered with any more than ritual observance. A few, a very few, take that literally and not just as a Sunday school piety. I have met such people. Most of them were Mennonites, a small obscure sect.
Similarly, while Islam teaches murder and aggression against non-Muslims, most Muslims, like most Christians, are too busy looking out for number one or trying to find a parking place, to act on their religion. I agree with Christy there.
One could reduce the question to sophomore logic and say that while not all Muslims are terrorists, almost all terrorists are Muslims. But what matters almost as much is the penumbra between being a practicing Mennonite or Muslim terrorist and doing nothing at all. Which is where almost everybody lives.
Most Christians, when they can spare a moment or a buck, will give a dollar to a beggar or write a check to a charity. They will also be sympathetic and supportive to those who act more fully on their much-ignored moral obligations. Mother Teresa was a folk hero to billions of people.
While Western countries give far too little in foreign aid, ask yourself why do they give anything? Politicians and voters have mixed motives, but some of those motives are sincerely eleemosynary. Western aid is all that stands between a substantial fraction of
Other examples are the Geneva Conventions. Prisoners of war of secular Christian nations are supposed to be treated with a certain minimum of decent treatment. Which is why
But I digress.
Just as the great mass of the people of nominally Christian countries do not do much that is Christian, what they do do, and what they sympathize with, pay for, and abet does matter. Exactly the same thing can be said of Muslims. As Christy correctly implies, most of them are busy making a living, comparison shopping, and bickering over the television remote, nevertheless the teachings of their religion does matter.
Unlike the author of the Sermon on the Mount, the author of the Koran was a desert warrior chieftain who taught violence, trickery, and lying as both permissible and obligatory in spreading Islam to the infidels. He made it obligatory in the Koran. And it shows in the conduct of Muslims.
American Muslims do not routinely take up arms against the
Just as only a few in Christian countries hear the calling to become priests, monks, ministers, or doers of pious works, so too only a few Muslims hear a religious calling and act on it. But religious Christians generally express their religion in good works. Religious Muslims, true to the teachings of Muhammad, express theirs in murdering as many infidels as they can.
So far from an isolated event, our history has been turned from its course more than once by Muslim violence. Robert F. Kennedy would likely have been elected president in 1968 and again in 1972 instead of Richard Nixon had he not been assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan.
Our press deliberately conspired to mislead the American people by claiming Sirhan was a Jordanian. It was never mentioned anywhere I saw that he was actually a Palestinian. I think neither the Arabs nor the Jews wanted that put about, so the press told not a half-truth but an outright lie. Sirhan was born and spent his childhood in Jerusalem, which is not in Jordan. From the age of 12 on he lived in.... Southern California. Which is also not in Jordan. I suppose the fig leaf used to justify the lie may have been that until sometime in the 1980's many Palestinians had Jordanian passports.
Sirhan said at trial that he had grievances with the United States and with Kennedy. Consider who else had grievances with the United States and the Kennedys - the entire African American population of the United States. All of whom had and have far too much access to firearms. And not one of whom has assassinated a white politician in spite of vast incentive and provocation.
Notably the only prominent American assassinated by African Americans was Malcolm X, assassinated by his fellow Black MUSLIMS. If grievance produced violence, the most violent people in the world would be India's 200 million harijans, the untouchables. It isn't grievance that produces violence. It is Islam.
It is easy to claim that Muslim violence has increased in modern times because of the encounter with the West and that that has led to the rise of what is preposterously called "militant Islam" which is supposedly a reaction against Western influence. This is a purely Eurocentric notion which starts from the premise that Muslim countries have no history until Europeans arrive. They do.
"Militant Islam' is Wahhabism, a Muslim sect founded in Iraq and Arabia by Mohammad Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab in the the 1740's. Al-Wahhab could not have found America on a map and could have cared even less. An early convert to Wahhabism was ibn Saud, ancestor the current Saudi royal family. The expansion of the domain of ibn Saud was also the conquest of the Arabian peninsula by Wahhabbism. (Because their opponents called them Wahhabis, they object to being called that and call themselves Salafists. Like Mormons calling themselves LDS.) The modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia is defined by Wahhabism.
Wahhabism is ultra-conservative, puritanical, authoritarian, rigid, woman-phobic, and xenophobic. It is the basis of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the Saudi religious police.
Which brings us to why Wahhabis like Osama bin Laden are so devoted to destroying the Saudi kingdom. Imagine the most Calvinist anti-Catholic time and place possible, say Scotland in the time of John Knox. Now imagine that John Knox was on the payroll of His Most Catholic Majesty, Philip II of Spain, and had agreed to the stationing of Spanish troops and Spanish oil company employees throughout Scotland. And that the Knox family was waxing filthy rich on the arrangement while most of Scotland remained dirt poor. How popular would the Knoxes be?
Most imams in the US are graduates of Wahhabi/Saudi madrassas. Which is also why we cannot too explicitly suppress Wahhabism - it is the sect of our Saudi ally-clients.
Unfortunately most proselytizing is done by Wahhabis, and most madrassas, in which Muslim clergy are trained, are controlled by them because funded by Saudi Arabia. Our allies.
Ironically, we have it in common with al-Qaeda and the Taliban that, like them, we have good reason to despise the Saudi royal family.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Aberdeen man, 50, in desperate need of a ride. Anything considered. Box 06/03
Heavy drinker, 35, Glasgow area, seeks gorgeous sex addict interested in pints, fags, Celtic football club and starting scraps on Sauchiehall Street at three in the morning. Box 73/82.
Bitter, disillusioned Dundonian lately rejected by longtime fiancée seeks decent, honest, reliable woman, if such a thing still exists in this cruel world of hatchet-faced bitches. Box 53/41
Ginger-haired Partick troublemaker, gets slit-eyed and shirty after a few scoops, seeks attractive, wealthy lady for bail purposes, maybe more. Box 84/42
Artistic Edinburgh woman, 53, petite, loves rainy walks on the beach, writing poetry, unusual sea-shells and interesting brown rice dishes, seeks mystic dreamer for companionship, back rubs and more as we bounce along like little tumbling clouds on life's beautiful crazy journey. Strong stomach essential. Box 12/32
Chartered accountant, 42, seeks female for marriage. Duties will include cooking, light cleaning and accompanying me to office social functions. References required. No timewasters. Box 23/45
Bad-tempered, foul-mouthed old bastard living in a damp cottage in the arse end of Orkney seeks attractive 21-year old blonde lady with big chest. Box 40/27
Devil-worshiper, Stirling area, seeks like-minded lady for wining and dining, good conversation, dancing, romantic walks and slaughtering dogs in cemeteries at midnight under the flinty light of a pale moon. Box 52/07
Attractive brunette, Maryhill area, winner of Miss Wrangler competition at Framptons Nightclub, Maryhill, in September 1978, seeks nostalgic man who's not afraid to cry, for long nights spent comfort-drinking and listening to old Abba records. Please, Please! Box 30/41
Govan man, 27, medium build, brown hair, blue eyes, seeks alibi for the night of February 27 between 8pm and 11.30pm. Box 98/12
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I watched part of the Miss California pageant. I don't think of myself as a prude but I was embarrassed by it. Let's not kid ourselves - a woman in a really small bikini is naked. Which is great. Unless she is on a runway in front of hundreds of people who are all staring at her.
I sometimes have dreams about suddenly realizing I am naked in public. They are not my favorite dreams.
Maybe it's a matter of age. Instead of thinking of them as hot babes, I was sorry for the humiliation of their parents. Sigh.
The Senate Democrats have mustered the votes to break the threatened filibuster of the health insurance reform bill by the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats. Since it takes 60 votes to break a flibuster but only 50 to pass a bill, the bill is sure to pass. There will be endless Republican attempts to add frivolous amendments but they will be just gestures. The bill will pass. The bill has already passed the House.
BUT the House bill and the Senate bill are not the same. The two bills will soon go to a reconciliation committee. Expect last ditch attempts to sabotage it there. Expect to hear even less about what is actually going on in that committee than we have heard of actual news about the struggle to pass it in the two houses.
In thirty years it will be unimaginable that the United States could see its legislative process so nearly hijacked by a single industry and that they could do it so publicly and brazenly.
But that will be after the press has stopped covering the question and left it to historians. Historians are only on the payrolls of universities and merely tell the truth as best they can. Sadly the same cannot be said of journalists and the media corporations they deny control them.
It is a great victory for the people of the United States. The Republican claims of impending catastrophe are belied by the fact that every developed country in the world except ours has some form of national health insurance. Much as one may dislike the Democrats, it is hard not to despise the Republicans far more.
I remember a friend who described people, typically conservatives, as subscribing to Evilism. Sadly even that would be more principled than the Republicans' actual calling - mere corporate venality.
But this is not a time for even justified recrimination, but for rejoicing. Hooray for the health insurance reform bill! Hooray for the United States of America! Hooray for the people!
Assuming we don't get screwed in the reconciliation committee.....
Friday, November 20, 2009
There are some interesting conclusions and lessons to be drawn from it. First note that the very richest countries are tax dodges or oil sheikdoms. Leichtenstein produces nothing except for a false teeth factory as Harvey has noted. Luxembourg, Bermuda, Jersey, Luxembourg, Guernsey, the Cayman Islands, and Andorra are likewise tax dodges, not national economies. Their wealth is that of other countries concealed there.
Ireland and Switzerland are a middle case - small countries which flourish in part because they are tax dodges. The Swiss benefit from their honesty and orderliness, their good character. The Irish get along in spite of their lack of it.
Qatar, Norway, Kuwait, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain all derive their wealth exclusively or primarily from oil and all are small.
All the tax dodge countries and the oil kingdoms are even smaller. The first country on the list that has more people than a large American city, the wealthiest large country, is.... the United States.
Next come the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Japan, France, and Italy.
So for all the economic doom and gloom in our press, it is well to remember that the United States is still the wealthiest large country in the world. And compared to the others of the ten biggest countries in the world - China, India, Indonesia, Brasil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Russia, and Japan - we are wealthy indeed.
Of course these are all 2008 figures. American spending last year was all put on a First Bank of China credit card which we are not in a position to pay. So last year's wealth may not mean much in 2009.
Anent which, how crazy is it that we are deeply and dangerously in debt to China? Our per capita GDP last year was $47,500 and theirs was $6,000. Yet we are in debt to them? Their per capita GDP is one-eighth of ours, and less than 2/3 of the world average of $10,500 (if the world were a country it would rank 101st). How could this happen? Who was in charge? Oh. Him.
We manage our money as well as the Iraqis manage their oil fields.
Here are some lessons to draw from the ranking below:
1. Stay the hell out of Africa.
2. Avoid socialist dictatorships - North Korea versus South, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Anything
3. Avoid former socialist dictatorships too - Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia
4. Be Chinese, but not in China - Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan
5. Live near oil if possible - Kuwait, Brunei, UAE, Alberta, Norway - unless it conflicts with rule #1 - Nigeria
6. In general it is a poor idea to be brown, but a terrible idea to be black - Africa, Brasil, Haiti.
7. It is good to be Scandinavian - Sweden, Denmark, Iceland
8. If you live in a country with a high birth rate, leave - Gaza, West Bank, Afghanistan.
9. Move to the US if you can, to the EU if you can't. Canada is also good if you are able to persuade yourself that winter will never come.
10. If your country was rich last year, expect to be screwed this year - United States, Ireland, Iceland.
Tragically the poorest country on the list, Zimbabwe, was not long ago the richest, best run, safest country in Africa. The collapse of their economy and of the Zimbabwean shilling since the farm expropriations at the beginning of the century have made them the poorest people in the world. Unlike the people of Gaza who have largely brought their misfortunes on themselves and deserve them, the Shona have fallen into a crevasse in their history. The Palestinians are nasty , aggressive, and violent. The Shona are kind, polite, and pleasant and in no way deserve what has befallen them. It is hard to see how it could have been avoided and harder to see how it can be escaped.
|12||United Arab Emirates||$44,600|
|23||British Virgin Islands||$38,500|
|35||Isle of Man||$35,000|
|53||Trinidad and Tobago||$23,600|
|64||Antigua and Barbuda||$19,400|
|65||Saint Kitts and Nevis||$19,100|
|88||Northern Mariana Islands||$12,500|
|97||Turks and Caicos Islands||$11,500|
|103||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||$10,200|
|125||Saint Pierre and Miquelon||$7,000|
|154||Congo, Republic of the||$3,900|
|158||Wallis and Futuna||$3,800|
|183||Micronesia, Federated States||$2,200|
|205||Sao Tome and Principe||$1,300|
|221||Central African Republic||$700|
|228||Congo, Democratic Republic of the||$300|
U.S. Fears Iraq Development Projects May Go to Waste
"In its largest reconstruction effort since the Marshall Plan, the United States government has spent $53 billion for relief and reconstruction in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, building tens of thousands of hospitals, water treatment plants, electricity substations, schools and bridges.
But there are growing concerns among American officials that Iraq will not be able to adequately maintain the facilities once the Americans have left, potentially wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and jeopardizing Iraq’s ability to provide basic services to its people."
This eleven grand contribution really isn't that astonishing an amount considering it has been spread out over the six years since the invasion in 2003. What is astonishing is that there should have been any contribution at all. Iraq has the fourth largest proven reserves of petroleum in the world, after Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Iran.
Even the notoriously clueless Saudis are able to translate vast amounts of oil selling at high prices into cash in their pockets. Canada, particularly Alberta where most of the oil is, is not a poor country.
The reason for the difference is not hard to see. Saudi oilfields are developed by Aramco, the Arab-American Oil Company. Or as it is known when no Arabs are listening, Chevron, formerly known as Standard Oil of California.
It has been an article of faith since the end of the Second World War that when foreigners do for you what you are unable to do for yourself, that you are a victim of imperialism. It is precisely their willing cooperation with imperialist oil companies and their imperialist geologists and imperialist drilling rigs, and imperialist pipelines and imperialist pipeline construction companies, and imperialist tanker ports and the imperialist technology of building them, and the imperialist tankers, and the imperialist marketing system to turn oil into money to pay to the Saudis, that is at the heart of bin Laden's and al-Qaeda's hatred of the Saudi regime.
Iraq was spared this imperialist lackey-hood victimization by the Baathist nationalist regime of Saddam Hussein.
Now note how we, and they, got into this mess in the first place. Iraq had the fourth largest proven reserve of oil in the world 115 billion barrels. Kuwait had the fifth largest proven reserve, 104 billion barrels. Yet Iraq was (and is) dirt poor and Kuwait was tastelessly rich with ice skating rinks in the desert, all work done by Korean men and Pilipina women. And like the Saudis, victims of imperialist oil companies which showered them with wealth by paying the market rate for oil. The oil companies may be without conscience but they are not without the ability to extract, refine, and market oil profitably.
Iraq's Baathi nationalist regime had by contrast through its ineptitude, mismanagement, and corruption, reduced Iraq to militarized poverty in spite of its oil wealth. Unable to distinguish Kuwaiti wealth from its sources, in 1991 the Iraqi Baath regime invaded Kuwait in what was as much a looting as a conquest.
One can assume that had the invasion and annexation of Kuwait been allowed to stand, that it would not have taken many years of Iraqi managment of the Kuwait oil fields to reduce them to the same condition as the Iraqi oil fields.
Now that Iraq is moving toward autonomy and having it oil resources run under Iraqi management again, what are the prospects that those resources will be competently and honestly managed? What are the prospects that they will not soon wind up in the producing-almost-nothing conditions they were under the Baath regime?
And if that is how they manage resources which visibly pump money out of the ground, how competently and honestly will they manage the "hospitals, water treatment plants, electricity substations, schools and bridges" that American families have bought for them at the cost of $700 each?
Norway has oil and is wealthy on account of it. Alberta has oil and is wealthy on account of it. Russia has oil and is able to maintain a strong ruble and keep its economy afloat on account of it. Alaska has oil and is wealthy on account of it.
BUT Switzerland has no natural resources and is wealthier still. Ditto Japan, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Denmark. Israel also has no natural resources yet is the wealthiest non-oil-sheikdom in the Middle East. Israel has a significantly higher gross domestic product per capita than Saudi Arabia.
So going back to official fears that Iraqi aid project money may have gone to waste, one can only respond, which part of "Iraqi" did you not understand when you spent the money?