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War and Terror: Government by criminals|
Posted on Friday, May 16 @ 12:51:47 UTC
Topic: New Iraq
By Brian Davey, America Held Hostile|
If it weren't so tragic it would be very funny indeed.
Having invaded Iraq to rescue it from a tyrant with weapons of mass destruction they can't find any such weapons. The tyrant flees and they bring in able administrators who will launch a clean and democratic new administration - but the administrators flounder helplessly, not sure what to do. In the end they are pulled out and replaced by new administrators. Meanwhile, the contracts awarded to big companies to rebuild Iraq remain unacted upon - the companies prefer to leave their personnel in Kuwait because Iraq is too dangerous for them.
Well fancy that! Perhaps it is as well that, back in the USA, not many people are noticing. The big photo opportunity has been had now, Bush has landed on an aircraft carrier, waived his arms in the air and beamed at the camera. He's good at that. So who cares what happens next in the USA? Or by the time anyone notices they will probably be well under way to finding a reason for the next war to distract discontent....
Meanwhile back in Iraq, however, the new empire reveals itself to be run by incompetents who, as we would say in Britain, "couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery". After a few weeks General Jay Garner - the man we remember as saying that he liked a challenge, is pulled out of the country, as it seems that the challenge has been a bit too much for him. And not only him - Barbara Bodine, administrator for Central Iraq has been sacked too - not to mention the 4 others key personnel from the "Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance". Strange, I would have thought that anyone arriving in a strange environment would take a few weeks to get a feel for things, to orient - but in an administration run by racketeer simpletons instant results are required so they are already on their way out.....
Not that there is much chance that they would get very far with a couple of years to orientate themselves. To work with people you need to build trust, or at least authority - and you have to know what you are doing. You need good information systems and technical expertise. Yet in Iraq the filing systems of the state have been ransacked, the offices gutted. No one trusts anyone else - and least of all the Americans. Nor have they the troops to impose order - this invasion was done on the cheap in terms of personnel.....
Having worked in another country it comes as no surprise to me that the Americans should be floundering. A few years ago I was given a job doing community development work in a small town in eastern Germany called Wolfen. My German wasn't very good and took time to improve. After several months I discovered that some of my ideas to get people working together were doomed to failure - many of the people I hoped would work with each other hated each other's guts. Some were fatally compromised as functionaries with the former regime and others had been the victims and the dissidents. There was no way they would work together. There was much mutual suspicion. As a newcomer to the area I had no quick way of knowing people's pasts and reputations. Just getting to know the patch properly would have taken more time than I had...
It's hardly surprising that parachuting themselves in, as a group of heavily armed people with a claim to know what's best for Iraq, the Americans have found that they have no idea how to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. The very first minister in their new interim government that the Americans appointed was a Dr Ali Shnan al-Janabi - he was supposed to be the new health minister. As number three in Saddam Hussein's health ministry Dr Janabi has lasted just a few days - and then fallen because of fury among other doctors at his appointment.
It turns out that the other doctors regard him as complicit in the appalling corruption and mismanagement of the health system during the Saddam Hussein years. Funny that, because hours before he resigned, senior US officials defended him as a man of "honesty" and "great courage". In fact, I doubt whether the "senior officials" had any idea at all what Dr Janabi was like. How could they? They didn't live and work in the country - it's not their country. That's why they can't "liberate" it. That's why the Iraqis, with justice, want them to piss off.
In fact, it's quite spectacular how stupid the British and American military/political elite are. Another example was the cock up about the oil. The Americans hoped that by selling more Iraqi oil they could get the Iraqis to pay them for the reconstruction that American companies would do - and drag down world oil prices at the same time. Then they discovered, too late, that the Iraqi oil infrastructure is incredibly dilapidated because of sanctions - so that a huge investment programme is needed to upgrade the industry before it can pump a lot more. Thus the cost of increasing production will be enormous. Another mistake for them....
The problem is that the force of arms, and a manipulated mass media, removes the American governing elite any kind of effective answerability for their actions. In consequence they can get away with mega mistakes largely unscathed. And the consequence of that, in turn, is that they don't actually have to think very deeply about what they do. Mistake can follow mistake and crime can follow crime and they get away with it. Nevertheless, after a point the rottenness becomes so apparent that more and more people begin to notice that something is wrong.
Just before Easter an article appeared in the Financial Times about the prospects for the American economy. It said that there was a sense of "embedded pessimism" that was proving hard to shift. Apparently this pessimism is dampening down shopping and investment and leading to higher savings - reflecting the wish to insure against perceived uncertainties about the future. While the neo-conservatives pursue their Project for a New American Century with megalomaniac enthusiasm, the rest of the US is gripped with increasing anxiety. Why?
A clue is given in a little quote from Neal Soss, chief economist at Credit Suisse First Boston in New York (quoted in the FT). Unlike the fraudsters, Soss appears to be able to read the reality for what it is - "The biggest forecast issue at the moment is the demythologising of business leaders". After Enron and WorldCom it has become clear that a large number of America's business leaders are very good at defrauding people. We know, for example, that Halliburton, Dick Cheney's company, has a formidable reputation - the world over, for frauds. We know that Bush managed to pump up the shares of his failed oil prospecting company Harken, by putting out misleading reports of hopeful oil finds.....More of the public is aware that these are political leaders with considerable expertise in cooking corporate accounts and misleading scams.
Unfortunately they don't also have any talent as managers - in fact they understand Jack Shit about the real world economy, about the importance of trust, about long term planning based on long term commitment and knowledge, about developing a long term feel for how production, trusting human relations, administrative systems, local contexts, finance and technique all fit together to make a successful productive process.
And we can see that now in Iraq. It's not surprising that an army government of racketeers shouldn't be any good at inspiring trust in Iraq or bringing in democracy. It's not surprising that they should be floundering on the practical tasks facing them. In so far as it is possible for people from outside Iraq to be experts in the field of reconstruction then these are the very people who the American corporate elite have either alienated or been attempting to drive away - people with integrity like the former UN administrators Dennis Halliday or Hans Von Sponek, people from the NGOs with a track record in Iraq of working with local groups and for human rights like Oxfam or Medical Aid for Iraqi Children.
And that's a real problem for the British and American governments that they cannot find a way around - because they want to keep the UN out effectively.
Of course, they never really were concerned about the reconstruction and the welfare of the Iraqi people. If they were they would not have claimed to be saving Iraq from a tyrant with chemical weapons and then, themselves, bombarded Iraq with huge quantities of toxic chemicals - particularly in the form of depleted uranium weapons. The 320 tonnes of DU used in the first Gulf War created a plague of birth abnormalities and cancers among children as well as kidney diseases. Yet this time that British and American governments have recklessly fired anything between 3 and 6 times as much DU weaponry - including into urban areas, exposing civilian populations. They knew and they know the dangers - the European Parliament has called for a ban on DU weapons, the UN have called for immediate contamination and scientific studies, the Royal Society, furious about being misquoted by the British and American governments have likewise called for decontamination of battlefields, for the testing of soldiers and for monitoring of waters and milk. So what have the British and Americans done? Nothing. They don't want to decontaminate, to monitor or test - for that would create evidence of their own crimes. It's a deliberate "don't look, don't find" policy.
Meanwhile studies suggest that the problem will peak in about 40 years time....
This level of incompetence would be funny if its effects were not so lethal. In the circumstances it isn't funny at all. This is not incompetence only - it is recklesslessness with other people's lives. What we are witnessing is murderous criminality at the highest levels of British and American society.
As I write this I am aware that, over the last few days, British newspapers have been full of another scandal - about the British security forces illegal operations in Northern Ireland - including claims that they provided cover for murders - not to mention an attempt to cover up, by setting fire to the Northern Ireland office of a senior police chief, who was appointed to investigate these matters.
In Britain and the USA we are governed by incompetents and criminals. Only their prosecution will bring back security to our societies and world society.
List of web sources from the Guardian on 12th and 13th May
Article about Dr Janabi
Article about failure to find WMD
Article about replacing Garner, Bodine and others
Article about cover-ups of state sponsored murder in the UK
Further information on "embedded pessimism" in the USA from the print issue of the Financial Times on 17th April 2003.
Information about DU weapons from
Campaign Against Depleted Uranium
Reprinted from America Held Hostile:
|Average Score: 5|