The nickname “Uncle Sugar” was my unofficial call sign while I was a Civil Affairs Officer in the Iraq War. The real one was “Peacemaker 5”. I was called Uncle Sugar because I was the Pay Agent for my Civil Affairs team. This is a senior officer or NCO who is responsible for buying supplies off the local economy during a deployment. They also pay local contractors who rebuild schools, medical clinics, etc. This accomplished two objectives: the first was to free up the US military’s supply and engineering assets, which were already feeling the strain of Iraq reconstruction. These activities were all responsibilities of Civil Affairs in the Iraq War.
The second goal was to pump much needed cash into the Iraqi economy. The bulk of the money that I paid out in Iraq was drawn from confiscated funds held by Saddam’s regime, hundreds of millions of dollars stockpiled from selling Iraq’s oil. This had been done through the United Nations’ Oil for Food Program, the proceeds of which were supposed to buy food and medicine for the Iraqi people. Apparently, Saddam forgot to do that, as bags and bags of US currency were found hidden all over Baghdad. Who knows, maybe he was just waiting for the right time?
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