Monday, May 12, 2003

The plans of the Bush cabal for Iraq are becoming clearer (or here). The reconstruction of Iraq will be performed by American companies on very favorable 'cost plus' contracts. The proceeds from the Iraqi oil will be put in an 'Assistance Fund' from which American administrators will pay these companies, presumably not looking too closely at the invoices (the Halliburton 'emergency' no-bid contract with respect to the oil fields, described as a relatively minor contract for oil well fire extinguishing by Bush Administration spinners but with fine print leaving Halliburton in charge of "operation of facilities and distribution of products", in fact the whole oil business of Iraq - a business that may net Cheney's pals and employers $7 billion in the next two years - must be one of the most blatant examples of corruption in the history of corporate thievery!). While the British are acting as co-sponsors of the plan, it appears that almost all the contracts will go to American firms (Iraqi firms can't even bid on the reconstruction of their own country until the U. N. sanctions are lifted!), or, more accurately, firms that are the crony capitalist friends of the Bush Administration (Blair must be receiving bribes, as the British have spent all this money for the war and British firms appear to be getting none of the swag). The costs of the reconstruction will presumably equal exactly the amounts of money in the Assistance Fund, leaving the Iraqi people without any benefits from their oil, with the exception of a small 'trickle down' from performing menial employment in the oil fields and servicing the needs of the camps set up by the American reconstruction companies. The operation of the Assistance Fund will be audited by an international firm of accountants (presumably Arthur Andersen will be resurrected for this role), but such a firm would merely monitor that the amounts on the massively excessive contracts were properly paid. The Fund will operate "until such time as a new Iraqi government is properly constituted and capable of discharging its responsibilities," an event which will probably never occur (until then the Iraqis will be able to give advice to the American administrators, advice which of course will only be taken if it suits the Americans to do so). The American destruction of the entire civil society of Iraq has left the whole country unemployed and without money to live on, and with no prospect of reasonable employment at any time in the foreseeable future. Although the U. S. has petulantly kept the United Nations out, its eventual role will presumably be to feed the Iraqi people, as it is incomprehensible that the Bush cabal will be prepared to pay for any humanitarian aid (the Bush occupation government is already paying what tiny amounts it is paying some Iraqis out of money looted from Iraqi banks!). The whole country of Iraq will become the world's largest U. N. refugee camp, and the Americans will count on the extreme poverty and hopelessness to keep the Iraqis from resisting American military rule. Eventually, some sort of American-controlled puppet government will be 'elected' by a small group of American-chosen local functionaries (for, as you know, the Arab mind isn't suited to democracy), and this government will rubber-stamp the continued looting of Iraq. The beauty of this is that the Americans can say that they are paying full market price for the oil, and that the proceeds are honestly being paid into the Assistance Fund, and that all Iraq's oil revenue will remain in the hands of the Iraqi people, but due to unfortunate circumstances there is no money left in the Fund after Bush's friends have been paid for the reconstruction. The actual oil development contracts will eventually go to American (and probably British - Blair will have to be able to show something for the British war effort) firms, with Iraq staying in OPEC or at least broadly supporting OPEC price and production levels, as OPEC is very profitable for the oil companies which Bush represents (if Iraq stays in OPEC, Washington would effectively take a direct role in the formation of OPEC policies). Who wins from this?:

  • Bush's crony capitalist friends.

Who loses from this?:

  • the American and British taxpayers, who have to pay for the war, but who won't even get cheaper gasoline out of it (this whole attack on Iraq has essentially been corporate welfare, with the massive expense of the war paid for by taxpayers, and all the benefits accruing to large corporations);

  • the people of any other small country that might have natural resources American corporations might covet, and whose governments will now be suitably cowed into agreeing with whatever plans these corporations have to rape their wealth; and

  • the Iraqi people, who will mostly become permanent refugees in their own country, and will receive no benefit from the immense wealth of the land they were so unfortunate to be born in.