Remaking Baghdad into Boston;
Damascus into Dallas
by Stan Moore
April 16, 2003
It has always been clear to thinking persons that installing democracy or uninstalling weapons of mass destruction were subterfuges from the true Bush agenda. George W. Bush was hardly interested in democracy in his own election, in which he benefited from thousands of "hanging chads" that would have no doubt prevented him from taking office if a revote had been held in Florida so that the true will of the voters had been documented. And we have seen how flimsy the "weapons of mass destruction" arguments were; even if Saddam Hussein had them at his disposal, he did not use them even when his life and regime were on the line. Even after his own life was targeted by precision munitions and the best intelligence the U.S. could buy, Saddam did not resort to use of weapons of mass destruction.
Despite these easily recognizable facts, the Bush spokespersons continue to talk democracy, freedom and weapons of mass destruction, with more of the emphasis now being shifted to alleged Iraqi transferal of their personnel and weapons to Syria. So, now both Iraq and Syria are in the Bush administration's crosshairs.
And in the midst of all the posturing based on innuendo and distortion, occasionally we are hearing some hidden agenda items working their way to the front burner. We are hearing Bush spokespersons speak of the need for "modernization" of Iraq and Syria. We are hearing criticism of Arab leaders who "hold back" their people from "advancement" along Western lines.
What we are REALLY beginning to hear is the idea that U.S. corporations are eager to transform Baghdad into another Boston, and Damascus into another Dallas. U.S. corporations want to have McDonalds and Chevrolet dealerships scattered throughout the Arab world. U.S. corporations are not satisfied to only have a puppet regime which will sell oil to the U.S. economy at terms favorable to us. We want to sell our goods to the Arab world. We want to transform Arab societies into mirror images of our own, with decreased emphasis on religion and increased emphasis on consumerism, materialism and capitalism. We want the World of Islam to quit viewing the U.S. as decadent, and start viewing us as "trend setters". We want Yemeni boys to wear Nike shoes and we want the young ladies of Dubai to dress like Britney Spears and rebel against their old fashioned parents, just like American girls and boys do.
In the long run, if democracy doesn't work out in the Arab world, the American government can live with dictatorships or socialism, as long as consumer goods are sold and the ratcheting up of Arab economies benefits the U.S. economy. We want more Arabs to have more wealth, so we can have more wealth. But, if we can exploit low-priced labor in those countries for a time, that would be even better yet!
All this makes it truly puzzling that the U.S. would see fit to bring together Iraqi factions to plan a government. Many educated Iraqis took their higher education in the U.S., France, Germany, and other Western countries. Has not Iraq been a member of the world community far longer than the U.S. has? Doesn't it seem strange that the people of Iraq would need the U.S. to teach them about governance?
In reality, the U.S. is seeking to facilitate, not Iraqi interests, but U.S. interests in the choosing (not electing) of a new Iraqi government.
There is no doubt that the U.S. wants to use the post-war period to obtain lucrative contracts for corporate bedmates of the U.S. administration. If possible, long-term petroleum production and delivery contracts are desired to put U.S. corporations in sensitive portions of the Iraqi economy.
Once the Mobil and Exxon personnel are deployed, will the fast food brigades be far behind? Soon Bill Gates will be donating millions of dollars of new computers for Iraqi schools, so Iraqi children can get "wired" into the wonderful world of cyberspace, where material goods and slick advertising can turn an Iraqi child's heart from Islam to hip-hop in a big hurry.
Donald Rumsfeld makes a distinction between Old Europe and New Europe. He no doubt has his eyes on Old Iraq and New Iraq. "New Iraq Rocks!" may be a promotion under a new, glitzy advertising campaign. Sultry beauties in flowing silk skirts may one day fill the tv screens at the Kirkuk Auto Show, featuring the most luxurious vehicles available for sale east of the Suez Canal. Humm-Vees will no doubt be a big hit, once the pain of the "liberation" is forgotten in Iraq. In Damascus, the New Year's Eve festival will rival that of New York, and even Israelis will come to join in the festivities, as the brotherhood of commerce and hedonism will outweigh any and all past differences.
Doesn't it make you feel all warm and fuzzy to think about the New Iraq and the Improved Syria? George W. Bush knows how you feel.
Stan Moore lives in San Geronimo, CA. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org