27 Aug. 2007

Is It Time To Get Angry Yet?

You're damn right it is. Even Bush's top international stooges are now acknowledging that the Middle East, if not the world, is totally FUBAR:
"Europe was just as dysfunctional [as the Middle East] for a while. And some of its wars became world wars. Now the problems of the Middle East and Islamic civilization have the same potential to engulf the world.
- Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
No, Khalilzad is not proferring his resignation for his part on the clusterfuck.

Rolling Stone magazine gets suitably steamed as it documents The Great Iraq Swindle:
Operation Iraqi Freedom, it turns out, was never a war against Saddam ­Hussein's Iraq. It was an invasion of the federal budget, and no occupying force in history has ever been this efficient. George W. Bush's war in the Mesopotamian desert was an experiment of sorts, a crude first take at his vision of a fully privatized American government. In Iraq the lines between essential government services and for-profit enterprises have been blurred to the point of absurdity -- to the point where wounded soldiers have to pay retail prices for fresh underwear, where modern-day chattel are imported from the Third World at slave wages to peel the potatoes we once assigned to grunts in KP, where private companies are guaranteed huge profits no matter how badly they fuck things up.

And just maybe, reviewing this appalling history of invoicing orgies and million-dollar boondoggles, it's not so far-fetched to think that this is the way someone up there would like things run all over -- not just in Iraq but in Iowa, too, with the state police working for Corrections Corporation of America, and DHL with the contract to deliver every Christmas card. And why not? What the Bush administration has created in Iraq is a sort of paradise of perverted capitalism, where revenues are forcibly extracted from the customer by the state, and obscene profits are handed out not by the market but by an unaccountable government bureauc­racy. This is the triumphant culmination of two centuries of flawed white-people thinking, a preposterous mix of authoritarian socialism and laissez-faire profit­eering, with all the worst aspects of both ideologies rolled up into one pointless, supremely idiotic military adventure -- American men and women dying by the thousands, so that Karl Marx and Adam Smith can blow each other in a Middle Eastern glory hole...

According to the most reliable ­estimates, we have doled out more than $500 billion for the war, as well as $44 billion for the Iraqi reconstruction effort. And what did America's contractors give us for that money? They built big steaming shit piles, set brand-new trucks on fire, drove back and forth across the desert for no reason at all and dumped bags of nails in ditches. For the most part, nobody at home cared, because war on some level is always a waste. But what happened in Iraq went beyond inefficiency, beyond fraud even. This was about the business of government being corrupted by the profit motive to such an extraordinary degree that now we all have to wonder how we will ever be able to depend on the state to do its job in the future.
Thanks to one of Australia's most under-rated bloggers, Antony Lowenestein for that link.

How did it come to this? Here's a clue:
"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps, and I believe that our education like such as South Africa and the Iraq everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should... our education over here in the U.S should help the U.S or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future."
-- Miss South Carolina, when asked why so many Americans can't find their own country on a map.
Now put that kind of stupidity into practice on the battlefield of nations you know nothing about:
THE US military in Afghanistan has expressed regret over a campaign aimed at winning hearts and minds but which offended scores of Muslims when it dropped dozens of soccer balls bearing the name of Allah and the prophet Mohammed from helicopters.

The idea of kicking something bearing their names is considered deeply offensive to Muslims.

"This ball ... carries a message with it which, like an atom bomb, can cause carnage and insecurity in all parts of Afghanistan,'' a leading Afghan newspaper, Cheragh, said today.