FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

This is What Privatization Looks Like

 

The National Museum of Iraq is empty. 7,000 years of Babylonian, Sumerian and Assyrian artifacts stolen. Nothing at all is left. The museum possessed tablets with Hammurabi’s Code–one of mankind’s earliest codes of law. Over a hundred thousand artifacts were stored in the museum among them a copper head of an Akkadian king, at least 4,300 years old. All are gone.

Experts doubt that more than few would ever be recovered. 4,000 objects disappeared during the 1991 war and only three or four were recovered. If thieves can’t find an immediate buyer they just trash it.

This is happening all over Iraq, widespread looting of public and international aid agency property. Even hospitals were looted of the little they possessed after 12 years of sanctions. It’s privatization with a vengeance. According to a Reuters report the Red Cross says that Baghdad’s medical system had all but collapsed due to combat damage, looting and fear of anarchy. In Baghdad there is neither electricity nor water (Robert Fisk, Independent, April 12)

The collapse of the central government would be terrible enough in any country, but in a country where most of the population depended on rations from the central government the situation could be catastrophic. The government provided virtually free a basket of basic foods and other necessaries to all who needed it. The “Oil for Food” program helped pay for it. Undoubtedly international food relief agencies will rush to do their best, but the numbers of people who die in the interim could be very large. Remember anti-sanctions activists estimated that several thousand died every month even at the height of the “Oil for Food”.

How many will die? You will never know. It’s not lot seeing hundreds of corpses in a ditch. The kids and the old die one by one of simple diseases and their families do the best they can to bury their remains. No one in the “Coalition of the Willing” will spend time trying to gather statistics. Instead their PR guys will pump out heartwarming stories of soldiers handing starving kids chocolate bars.

What about the oil, now that it’s all safe and secure? Colin Powell talks about its preservation for the benefit of the “Iraq people”. Don’t bet the store on that. On January 26 Faisal Islam and Nick Paton Walsh wrote in the Guardian(UK) that on question of what will happen to the oil, “The neo-conservatives plan a market structure based on bypassing the state-owned Iraqi National Oil Company and backing new free-market Iraqi companies. ” Who do you think is going win this “ideological” battle?

Of course, the United States government could never have expected all this looting, or could it? Just about ten years ago the government of Albania dissolved. Everything public was stolen. Even the very stones of public buildings were dragged off for private use.

Bush and Co. could have had enough military force ready whenever a city was taken to insure public safety, but undoubtedly didn’t want to burden the taxpayers with the expense. Why not do it more cheaply? Robert Fisk reports that “the Americans were recruiting Saddam Hussein’s hated former policemen to restore law and order on their behalf” Independent (UK) April 12.

With his usual gift for eloquence Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld characterized the collapse of public welfare for twenty million people as “untidiness”. (Washington Post, April 12)

STANLEY HELLER is editor of “The Struggle” and can be reached at mail@TheStruggle.org

 

More articles by:
August 20, 2018
Carl Boggs
The Road to Disaster?
James Munson
“Not With a Bomb, But a Whimper” … Then More Bombs.
Jonathan Cook
Corbyn’s Labour Party is Being Made to Fail –By Design
Robert Fisk
A US Trade War With Turkey Over a Pastor? Don’t Believe It
Howard Lisnoff
The Mass Media’s Outrage at Trump: Why the Surprise?
Faisal Khan
A British Muslim’s Perspective on the Burkha Debate
Andrew Kahn
Inhumanity Above the Clouds
Dan Glazebrook
Trump’s New Financial War on the Global South
George Wuerthner
Why the Gallatin Range Deserves Protection
Ted Rall
Is Trump a Brand-New Weird Existential Threat? No.
Sheldon Richman
For the Love of Reason
Susie Day
Why Pundits Scare Me
Dean Baker
Does France’s Economy Need to Be Renewed?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Mighty Voice for Peace Has Gone Silent: Uri Avnery, 1923-2018
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail