Bush Plans To Privatize the Rebuilding of Iraq

By Gus Tyler

Published March 28, 2003, issue of March 28, 2003.
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Although the war in Iraq is not yet over, it appears that our ever-provident president already has a set of ideas on how to rebuild the land once ruled by Saddam Hussein. A recent Wall Street Journal headline proclaims: “Bush Has an Audacious Plan To Rebuild Iraq Within a Year.”

The Journal comments: “The U.S. plan as currently laid out could thrust the U.S. to the forefront of nation building, an endeavor President Bush had disparaged during the 2000 presidential campaign.”

A closer look at Bush’s plan, however, would not entangle the American government in “nation building.” The Bush strategy is to turn over the physical rebuilding of Iraq to private American companies. “The Bush plan,” reports the Journal, “as detailed in more than 100 pages of confidential contract documents, would sideline United Nations development agencies and other multilateral organizations that have long directed efforts in places such as Afghanistan and Kosovo. The plan would also leave big non-governmental organizations largely in the lurch.”

That Bush thinks in such terms should come as no surprise to anyone who understands his philosophy. He is the persistent privatizer. He would like to privatize Social Security; he would like to privatize our educational system. It seems that he really distrusts government. Some unkind cynics suggest that Bush distrusts government because he realizes that if he (George Bush) is the government, it should not be trusted.

An uglier view suggests that the Bushies feel a sense of moral obligation toward those individuals and corporations who contributed so heavily to their campaign. The least they can do is repay their friends with a friendly act, like letting them in on the ground floor with contracts on rebuilding Iraq after we have reduced it to rubble. Companies of other countries will not be included, even if they come from Tony Blair’s England. It is estimated that corporations will be the beneficiaries of about $1.5 billion during the first year.

All of which has inspired the ever nasty, super-cynical poet Virgil Homer to pen a mythical declaration by our veep, Dick Cheney, to our prexy, George Bush:

Said Dick to George, “I have a scheme,A way we will reward our teamFor all their efforts and their painsWhen they gave bucks to our campaigns.We’ll find a country far awayThe guy who runs it we will slayAnd wreck the landscape on the way.We then the wasteland will repairWith contracts to those folks so fairWho helped us in our hour of needAnd proved that they are friends indeed.”

As a postscript to Homer’s biased doggerel, Machiavelli might have added:

Morality’s a bag of beans.The ends do justify the means.And in this case, the worthy “ends”Is taking care of our rich “friends.”






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