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Pentagon maniacs and Corporate America plot the...
Postwar carve-up

By Eric Ruder | April 11, 2003 | Page 2

IT'S NO surprise that the Bush administration--filled with officials drawn from the ranks of Corporate America--would approach the occupation of Iraq like a CEO. "For some in the Bush administration," said a senior British official, "Iraq is like the perfect takeover target: a 'company' that possesses assets that can be used to finance its own restructuring."

Like any hostile takeover, the first order of business after removing the former "management" is to bring in your buddies. To that end, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his right-hand man Paul Wolfowitz have sent 300 Americans to a sun-drenched seaside resort in Kuwait to plot the future of Iraq. "In the shade, 300 American planners examine flow-charts, consult laptop computers and study maps," reports Britain's Sunday Telegraph.

For U.S. corporations looking to get a piece of the postwar action, the setup is perfect. Take management of the port at Umm Qasr. "The British view is that the Iraqi manager, who has been in the position for years, is capable of doing the job," Hussein Ibish, of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, wrote in an op-ed article. "[The U.S.] insisted, however, in providing a lucrative contract to run the port to Stevedoring Services of Seattle."

Meanwhile, the giant San Francisco-based contractor Bechtel, whose executives served in the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations, is frontrunner for a $600 million infrastructure contract.

Welcome to the American Empire, where the motto is "Might makes right." Rumsfeld has already selected retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner to head up Operation Iraqi Occupation--though Garner's history will only make matters worse.

In 2000, Garner signed onto a statement praising the Israel Defense Forces for showing "remarkable restraint" in maintaining Israel's violent occupation of Palestinian land. Not exactly reassuring words from a man about to oversee the U.S. occupation of another peoples' land.

Garner will run Iraq's 23 ministries, each headed by an American with Iraqi advisors. And despite CIA misgivings, the role of Iraqi front man for this operation may go to Ahmed Chalabi, the U.S.-educated banker who left Iraq in the 1950s--and who was sentenced to hard labor in absentia by Jordan for embezzling millions of dollars.

Another Iraqi figure likely to land a post in Garner's occupation government is Gen. Nizar al-Khazraji, the Iraqi general who oversaw the gassing of Kurds in the 1988 Halabja massacre. Khazraji went into exile in Denmark in the 1990s--but was charged there for war crimes for the massacre. He inexplicably disappeared from Denmark in mid-March, only to resurface "in the Persian Gulf working with U.S. forces," according to several unnamed U.S. officials.

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