I know we're all quite properly fixated on the Mideast these days, but FOX News' Steve Harrigan has been doing some remarkable reporting from Iraq the last few days.
He spoke of soldiers dealing with 110-degree-plus heat in heavy armor and how, in one case, that heavy armor did little to help an Iraqi soldier who encountered a roadside bomb and later bled to death on the way to the hospital.
All, sadly familiar stories. But leave it to Steve to tap onto another story: There's no banking system over there — none at all.
Now, you might think, big deal — because the bigger deal is life and death, not money and checking accounts.
That is, until you realize, as Steve pointed out, that a lot of these Iraqi soldiers are paid in cash. They have to be. So they work 21 days straight, then on the few days off after that, they rush home with that cash to give to their families. And I suspect their families are all over the place.
Now, being the money guy here, it got me thinking about a basic thing we take for granted here: wired checks, wired accounts — a system for our money, a place to go to get our money.
You know, banking stuff.
There's no such stuff there, which means the very folks in whom you're trusting the security of a nation, have no financial security themselves.
This isn't about how much money they make, but how they get that money — period.
There are all sorts of logistical nightmares in Iraq, but not having a banking system could prove — both short and long-term — to be the most inconvenient. And I suspect, if not addressed, perhaps, even the most deadly.
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