By Chris Floyd -
September 25, 2003.
Now the mission is accomplished!
George W. Bush's premature projaculation of victory last May notwithstanding, the real objective of the Potomac Empire's invasion of Iraq was finally achieved last weekend, when the sock puppets of the occupying powers put their rubber stamp to an American diktat opening up the entire nation to plunder by foreign bagmen.
"The rule of law is dead.
At the signed order of Bushist viceroy Paul Bremer (emphasis on vice), almost every aspect of Iraqi life -- electricity, water, medicine, education, agriculture, transportation, communications and, above all, banking and finance -- was laid open to unfettered exploitation by the plutocrats and lootocrats of the "civilized" world. The lone exception to this unprecedented fire sale of an entire nation is, of course, Iraq's oil wealth, which has already been put into the loving, no-bid, open-ended "oversight" of Dick Cheney's Halliburton and associates.
The measure, announced by surprise last Sunday -- not even Bush's so-called partner in conquest, the British government, knew about it in advance -- permits 100 percent foreign ownership in all non-energy sectors of the conquered land's economy, which will be "privatized" to a fare-thee-well. What's more, the edict allows the "full, immediate remittance to the [investor's] host country of profits, dividends, interest and royalties."
In other words, the looters won't have to plow so much as a dime of their swag back into the local economy; every last cent wrung from the bludgeoned Iraqi people will flow into corporate coffers and private pockets in London, Paris, Tokyo, Riyadh, New York, Moscow, Kennebunkport and Crawford. Taxes will be minimal, tariffs almost nonexistent, and there will be none of the pesky rules and regulations that occasionally hamper unfettered corporate gobbling in more unenlightened states -- like, say, the United States and Britain.
In fact, there will "no government screening" at all of foreign investors, the edict says. If you can pay, you can play. After all, that's free enterprise, isn't it? If Bechtel, Carlyle, Vivendi, or the still-unslain beast of Enron want to buy up Baghdad's water supply and raise rates through the roof, why shouldn't they? If Bush -- who just this week issued new regulations opening the federal pork barrel to his favorite "faith-based organizations" -- wants to give Pat Robertson a billion dollars of taxpayer money to take over the Iraqi school system, why shouldn't he? What's the point of slaughtering thousands of innocent people and seizing their country if you can't do whatever the hell you want with it? It's not like this was some humanitarian exercise, you know. It's strictly business -- as Michael Corleone used to say.
The lack of "government screening" is only to be expected, of course -- because there is no government in Iraq: no constitution, no body of law, no popular representation, nothing even remotely resembling a genuine state with the authority to take such a momentous step: i.e., the surrender of the nation's wealth to rapacious conquerors. And there was rich comedy to be had in watching the American media mandarins try to finesse this inconvenient point. Indeed, The New York Times went so far as to declare that some mysterious entity known only as "Iraq" actually issued these "new laws." The "paper of record" did refer to the "Iraqi Governing Council" -- without noting for the "record" that this body is entirely appointed by the Anglo-American invaders and dares not even sneeze without imperial permission.
However, Britain's Financial Times -- writing for a business audience that needs to know who's really holding the keys to the Iraqi vaults -- was more direct. It was the only major paper to note that the laws were actually "signed by Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority" and that the Governing [sic] Council had only been "consulted." ("Say, Ahmed, you think we should send down to Dubai for pizza while Bremer finishes this edict?" "Yes, pizza would be nice." "Great. Consider yourself consulted.")
There is, however, a hidden side to this brazen daylight robbery. The edict is the clearest signal yet that America intends to control Iraq by force, indefinitely. American power -- or more likely, American-controlled proxy armies, local or foreign -- must hold ultimate authority in the country or else the edict's proffered sweetmeats will hold no allure for global Lootists. As Bush's treasury secretary, John Snow, put it in lauding the edict this week: "Capital is a coward. It doesn't go places where it feels threatened."
Thus, no Iraqi government will be allowed to impose limits on the flow of cowardly capital in and out -- mostly out -- of the country, or to nationalize or "Islamicize" the assets now being flogged off by Bremer and the Bushists. The only way to guarantee the investments of the bagmen is to prevent -- by force or threat of force -- a truly independent government from arising in Iraq.
That's the plan, anyway. But as anyone with even a passing acquaintance of the history of U.S. foreign policy since World War II could tell you, the reality is likely to be something quite different. To wit: years of wholesale gouging by politically connected foreign firms, accompanied by growing internal strife, massive corruption, guerrilla warfare and terrorist attacks, followed by a gigantic bust-up -- civil war, Islamic revolution, military coup, etc. -- followed by a panicky pullout (as in Havana, Saigon, Teheran, Beirut, etc.), followed by years of scab-picking recriminations on editorial pages and political hustings: "Who lost Iraq?"
But for now the trough is wide open, and you can hear those eager trotters thundering toward the feast.
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