Many people have noted the Bush Administration's early plans to turn Iraq into a "shock doctrine" theme park, where every extremist tenet of "free market fundamentalism" could be inflicted on the conquered people. Much of this plan has fallen by the wayside (although a good deal of it has been quietly imposed on Iraq by the forcible incorporation of many of the arbitrary decrees of the imperial conqueror into the new, American-devised Iraqi constitution). But if Iraq has not quite turned into the Milton Friedman funhouse that the invaders intended, it has become the outsized embodiment – the id – of the true essence of the Bush Regime: a violent, lawless kleptocracy.It's the inevitable and spreading result, Chris reminds us, of
a war that the American people don't want, that the Iraqi people don't want, that the vast majority of people in the world condemn and decry – and yet it goes on, and will keep going on, year after year. And why is that? Because it serves the interests of those who have the desire – and the power -- to keep it going: the "bipartisan American foreign policy establishment," bound together in its commitment to enforcing American political and economic dominance of the world. (And not just pre-eminence, mind you, a freely-bestowed respect for national accomplishments, but outright dominance, a hegemony that can brook no rival and seeks to punish any disobedience to Washington's will. For more on this, see Arthur Silber's "Dominion Over the World" series.)This is hell and welcome to it; brought to you by the ruins of the most powerful former democracy the world has ever mourned.
What then, in the end, do our leaders – present and future, Republican and Democrat – stand for? What is the most apt emblem for the ultimate value they embody and most assidiously serve?
A child dying in her own shit and blood, in a land ripped to pieces by a criminal war.
It's lucky that things are going so much much better in Afghanistan, where simply traveling the road between the two largest cities means taking enormous risks.
But don't take my word for it. Keep reading here: Eating Iraq: Corruption Rules and Cholera Rises While Insurgents Surf the Surge