Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
The Destruction of Iraq
It’s now obvious what the Bushites have in mind for Iraq.
Iraq is in the process of self-destruction, pushed over the edge by Bush and the neocons. They believe chaos is a form of freedom, a reaction to decades of Saddam’s dictatorial rule. But this explanation is mostly for public consumption.
Bush and his architects will endeavor to build a new Iraq — a McDonaldized Iraq ruled by westernized overlords and serviced by US corporations. This can only happen if the methodical process of destruction is allowed to unravel centuries of Iraqi culture and decades of Saddam’s iron-fisted rule.
The International Committee of the Red Cross complains about the violence and unchecked looting. It cannot distribute humanitarian aid. It says US inaction to bring the chaos under control is a breach of the Geneva Convention.
Naturally, the US does not care about the Geneva Convention.
This should be obvious — from the use of cluster bombs to the illegal detention of political prisoners at Gitmo Bay in Cuba — Bush and the Pentagon are violating the Geneva Convention right and left and at every turn. It is absurd, almost comical, for the International Committee of the Red Cross to make these claims — they should know by now that the US has no intention of respecting international law. Not only is the Red Cross irrelevant, but so is most of humanity. Iraq — as Mesopotamia and the cradle of civilization — is the poster child or irrelevancy. Soon it will serve as a role model for all Arabs.
Another incidental international organization, the United Nations, is now carping about the engineered chaos in Iraq. "The coalition forces seem to be completely unable to restrain looters or impose any sort of control on the mobs that now govern the streets," Veronique Taveau, a UN spokesman, complained to the Guardian.
Mr. Taveau, unfortunately, insists on playing by old, time-tarnished rules. He seems entirely clueless about the nature and intentions of the Bushites. It’s not an inability that constrains the US forces in Iraq. No, it is something else altogether.
The Bush global engineers have issued top-down orders — allow the Iraqis to self-destruct, do not intervene. "We saw a similar mixture in Kosovo and Sierra Leone but initial disorder does give way to stability," explained a Tony Blair sidekick. Rumsfeld was a bit more succinct. "Stuff happens," he mused. "And free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things."
"Freedom is a gift from the Almighty God," added Bush.
Freedom to loot, murder, and rape — that is the gift Bush’s God has bestowed upon the Iraqi people. Bush’s God lives by the balance sheet and the bottom line, not compassion or even the now irrelevant articles of the Geneva Convention. Bush’s God resides in the Old Testament. It gathers sustenance from destruction and genocide. It eagerly fills graveyards and coffers. It dispenses multi-billion dollar reconstruction contracts.
The US has awarded, without competition, a contract worth up to $7 billion to Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, a company run until three years ago by Dick Cheney. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans believes the US private sector should play a major role in rebuilding Iraq and develop its plentiful energy resources.
"There will be companies that have an opportunity to bid on contracts," Evans said in an interview after a luncheon speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. "The coalition countries certainly should have an opportunity to be involved in whatever rebuilding opportunities there are."
Fluor Corp. and Parini Corp. have received contracts from the Army Corps of Engineers to provide up to $100 million worth of work to the military in the region. In other words, US and British corporations will help construct bases and military installations designed to destroy a large number of dark-skinned people and various distinct cultures in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the State Department’s Agency for International Development is acting as a pimp for US corporations hungry to turn a buck on the devastation of Iraq. For instance, Stevedoring Services of America and Bechtel are in the running and stand to earn billions. Both contributed to the Republicans and Bush. Bechtel is a refuge for former Reaganites and members of the Defense Policy Board where until recently Richard Perle held sway.
As for exploiting Iraq’s oil — "for the benefit of the Iraqi people" — this would "almost invariably fall to the nation’s energy capital of Houston, where President Bush has deep connections," writes Stewart Yerton of New Orleans’ Times-Picayune. "Evans dismissed the idea that awarding oil contracts to Texas energy firms would create perceived conflicts of interest. ‘This is an administration of total integrity,’ he said. ‘That’s all that needs to be said.’"
It also needs to be said that the closed process of selecting corporations — mostly kept under wraps in the name of national security — to rebuild a methodically destroyed Iraq will result in the squandering of billions of dollars. Peter Singer, a Brookings Institution scholar who has written a book on federal contracting, told the Chicago Tribune the "cost-plus" contracts being awarded by the Bushites could result in overstaffing and over billing. "A lot of money is going to be wasted, and a lot of money is going to be made," Singer said.
Meanwhile, the coolies who will rebuild Iraq’s roads, airports, hospitals and other infrastructure — much of it either bombed or assiduously stripped to the bone by looters — will come from the Philippines where annual income is around $1,000 per year and unemployment is all too common. "Imported Filipino laborers and engineers, many working for less than the US minimum wage, helped build the detention center holding al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba," reports the Taipei Times.
Instead of traditional United Nations peace-keeping troops invited to restore order where Bush and Crew have deliberately sowed chaos and destruction, it now appears the Reston, Virginia, rent-a-cop outfit Dyncorp will be called to "re-establish police, justice and prison functions in post conflict Iraq," according to Insight Magazine.
"We know we want something a little more corporate and more efficient with cleaner lines of authority and responsibility," a Pentagon official told the New York Times.
As Pratap Chatterjee of GNN writes, "[a]rmed DynCorp employees make up the core of the police force in Bosnia. DynCorp troops protect Afghan president Hamid Karzai, while DynCorp planes and pilots fly the defoliation missions over the coca crops in Colombia." As for allegations that Dyncorp was involved in a sex-slavery scandal in Bosnia — and accused of spraying Ecuadorian peasants with deadly herbicides — well, that’s the cost of doing business in the Third World.
Stuff, after all, happens.
In fact, it would seem the Bushites "want something a little more corporate and more efficient with cleaner lines of authority and responsibility" across the Middle East, beginning with Iraq and — if threats issued by Rumsfeld last week are to be taken seriously — moving eventually to Syria. The neocons make no bones about their pathological desire to attack and "regime change" Syria, Iran, Libya, North Korea, possibly Saudi Arabia, and even Cuba. That’s a whole lot of infrastructure that will need to be rebuilt in the smoldering wake of cruise missiles, JDAMs, bunker-busters, and MOABs.
But it’s not simply food warehouses, electrical grids, hospitals, and hardware stores ransacked and burned to the ground. It’s history itself. "They lie across the floor in tens of thousands of pieces, the priceless antiquities of Iraq’s history," writes Robert Fisk. "The looters had gone from shelf to shelf, systematically pulling down the statues and pots and amphorae of the Assyrians and the Babylonians, the Sumerians, the Medes, the Persians and the Greeks and hurling them on to the concrete."
Instead of history and culture, Iraq will burgeon with strip malls and sweatshops. Its oil and minerals will go to the powerful corporate interests represented by George Bush and Dick Cheney. In due time Syria and Iran will be subject to the same process and the freedom of Bush’s corporate God will eventually ring out in those benighted lands as well.
If not the sound of freedom, it will be the sound of a million cash registers instead.
We highly recommend regular visits to Nimmo’s website, Another Day in the Empire