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The Foul Smell of Liars
The game is exposed. The war is exposed. The fighting and dying are exposed. The White House is exposed. The Democrats and Republicans are exposed.
The LA Times piece, reprinted below, gives a good idea of what democracy in Iraq and freedom in Iraq will really mean.
They will mean what IMF and WTO have permitted to a number of nations around the world: hold free elections, go with a legislature, but don’t try to mess with economic rules and with OUTSIDE control of the country.
In other words, everything Bush has been mouthing about bringing democracy to Iraq is a bald sham. There will be no democracy in any significant sense. There was never meant to be a democracy. Bush was lying; Bush is lying; Bush will continue to lie.
And Kerry won’t make this a campaign issue. He is in the same ballpark as Bush.
No media outlet in the US will pound on this deception. It will sink like a stone. No pundits on the talk shows will raise this issue. It will remain mostly invisible.
And young men and women will have fought and died in Iraq for a new freedom there that was never meant to be.
This war was, on ground level, about control of Iraq.
“Give us your children; we will send them to Iraq to bring an economic dictatorship to the region.”
Imagine an American revolution (1776) that ended with a constitution that was encircled with complete economic control of the new country by the British. Would that have been freedom?
This reminds me a bit of the effects of NAFTA in the last ten years: NO participating nation has benefited in any significant way. Every nation has lost. The winners have been several transnational corporations, who owe no allegiance to any nation.
The Hand-Over That Wasn't: Illegal Orders give the US a Lock on Iraq's Economy
by Antonia Juhasz
08/06/04 Los Angeles Times -- Officially, the U.S. occupation of Iraq ended on June 28, 2004. But in reality, the United States is still in charge: Not only do 138,000 troops remain to control the streets, but the "100 Orders" of L. Paul Bremer III remain to control the economy.
These little noticed orders enacted by Bremer, the now-departed head of the now-defunct Coalition Provisional Authority, go to the heart of Bush administration plans in Iraq. They lock in sweeping advantages to American firms, ensuring long-term U.S. economic advantage while guaranteeing few, if any, benefits to the Iraqi people.
The Bremer orders control every aspect of Iraqi life ”from the use of car horns to the privatization of state-owned enterprises.”
Order No. 39 alone does no less than "transition [Iraq ] from a “centrally planned economy to a market economy" virtually overnight and by U.S. fiat. Although many thought that the "end" of the occupation would also mean the end of the orders, on his last day in Iraq Bremer simply transferred authority for the orders to Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a 30-year exile with close ties to the CIA and British intelligence. Further, the interim constitution of Iraq, written by the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, solidifies the orders by making them virtually impossible to overturn.
A sampling of the most important orders demonstrates the economic imprint left by the Bush administration: Order No. 39 allows for: (1) privatization of Iraq's 200 state-owned enterprises; (2) 100% foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses; (3) "national treatment" which means no preferences for local over foreign businesses; (4) unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; and (5) 40-year ownership licenses. Thus, it forbids Iraqis from receiving preference in the reconstruction while allowing foreign corporations, Halliburton and Bechtel, for example, to buy up Iraqi businesses, do all of the work and send all of their money home. They cannot be required to hire Iraqis or to reinvest their money in the Iraqi economy. They can take out their investments at any time and in any amount.
Orders No. 57 and No. 77 ensure the implementation of the orders by placing U.S.-appointed auditors and inspector generals in every government ministry, with five-year terms and with sweeping authority over contracts, programs, employees and regulations. Order No. 17 grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraq's laws. Even if they, say, kill someone or cause an environmental disaster, the injured party cannot turn to the Iraqi legal system. Rather, the charges must be brought to U.S. courts.
Order No. 40 allows foreign banks to purchase up to 50% of Iraqi banks. Order No. 49 drops the tax rate on corporations from a high of 40% to a flat 15%. The income tax rate is also capped at 15%. Order No. 12 (renewed on Feb. 24) suspends "all tariffs, customs duties, import taxes, licensing fees and similar surcharges for goods entering or leaving Iraq." This led to an immediate and dramatic inflow of cheap foreign consumer products, devastating local producers and sellers who were thoroughly unprepared to meet the challenge of their mammoth global competitors.
Clearly, the Bremer orders fundamentally altered Iraq's existing laws. For this reason, they are also illegal. Transformation of an occupied country's laws violates the Hague regulations of 1907 (ratified by the United States) and the U.S. Army's Law of Land Warfare. Indeed, in a leaked memo, the British attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, warned Prime Minister Tony Blair that "major structural economic reforms would not be authorized by international law."
With few reconstruction projects underway and with Bremer's
rules favoring U.S. corporations, there has been little opportunity for
Iraqis to go back to work, leaving nearly 2 million unemployed 1 1/2 years
after the invasion and, many believe, greatly fueling the resistance. The
Bremer orders are immoral and illegal and must be repealed to allow Iraqis
to govern their own economic and political future.
Antonia Juhasz is a project director at the International Forum on Globalization in San Francisco and a Foreign Policy in Focus scholar.
End of Times article
And you think the people of Iraq will accept this system?
You think they will view this as liberation?
You think they will feel as if the war has freed them to be independent?
You think they will paste a fat smile on their faces and accept their new home-grown government as a good thing?
Every piece of rebellion from here on out, of course, will be reported as terror attacks by al Qaeda and its allies.
Welcome to real politics. As opposed to the bullshit
politics that turns on whether Kerry was a hero on his boat in Vietnam and
whether Bush really went AWOL as a soldier and whether Kerry's wife is a
weirdo who'll insult foreign dignitaries if she's enscounced in the White
House and whether Hillary wants Bush to win so she can run in 2008 before
she's too old and whether the people think Kerry or Bush is a stronger leader
and whether Bush will get a bigger bounce from the Republican convention
than Kerry got out of Boston and whether John Edwards will garner Kerry
votes in the south...