Iraq paying U.S. citizens $400 million for Saddam-era ‘traumatizing’

Iraq is still paying the world back for Saddam's actions -- literally. The Christian Science Monitor reports that the Iraqi government has agreed to pay $400 million to American citizens who claimed to have been tortured or traumatized by the Iraqi regime following Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. With a 15-30 percent unemployment rate, ubiquitous violence, and a still lacking infrastructure, why is the new Iraqi regime paying so much money to American citizens when it was all Saddam's fault? Because the payment may help Iraq's case to end U.N. sanctions that have lasted since Saddam Hussein's rule: 

Settling the claims, which were brought by American citizens, has been seen as a key requirement for Washington to be willing to push for an end to the UN sanctions.

"There was a lot of pressure on the Iraqi government to do something that gets Congress off their back," says one senior Iraqi official, adding that the settlement cleared the way for US efforts to bring Iraq out from under the UN sanctions.

That's right, Saddam is long gone but sanctions on the still rebuilding country aren't. In fact, Iraq has already paid Kuwait $27.6 billion in reparations and continues to devote five percent of its oil revenues in accordance with the U.N. sanctions resulting from Saddam's invasion. While many countries have cancelled a lot or all of Iraq's debt to them, Kuwait continues to support Iraqi reparations -- regardless of the $22 billion Kuwaiti budget surplus for the last fiscal year.

So if U.S. citizens get paid by the Iraqi government for Saddam's "traumatizing" from 20 years ago, what will the United States pay the families of Iraqi citizens that are actually killed by U.S. forces? Well, the U.S. government is trying to find ways for Iraq to pay for that too.



Neither rhythm nor rhyme

Public figures are making a habit of lying on their resumes, but (now former) New Zealand military scientist Stephen Wilce has won the prize for most absurd claim.

Wilce claimed that he was a member of the British Royal Marines (Wilce was born in Britain), which isn't true. But that's been done before, and if that were Wilce's only falsehood, his story would have likely attracted very little media interest.

The claim that raised suspicion of Wilche's qualifications was refreshingly ridiculous. He alleged that he was a member of the 1988 British Olympic bobsled team, and that he raced against -- and personally knew -- the Jamaican team that was later immortalized in the 1993 movie "Cool Runnings." Wilche was caught on a secret tape, aired by "60 minutes," a New Zealand-channel TV3 program, saying,"I knew all the Jamaican guys" and that they were "mad, absolute nutters."

Not only does Wilche's claim scream fabrication, but why the hell did he have it on his resume in the first place? What employer did he think would be so impressed by him simply having met the Jamaican team? But it seems he's somewhat of a serial resume embellisher:

Previous employers and colleagues told the programme Mr Wilce had claimed he designed guidance systems for Britain's Polaris nuclear missiles, a now-defunct system that was launched in 1960, at the height of the Cold War.  He also said he had worked for MI5 and MI6, the British secret services, the program reported. 

It said at one previous workplace he was known as "Walter Mitty," a reference to U.S. author James Thurber's fictional character who lives in a fantasy world.

I have a hard time believing Wilche will find work in the near future.

H/T to Boing Boing.

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