More Insight

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An Excerpt from The Shock Doctrine

An example of what I'm trying to wrap my head around...

(shhh, don't tell the publisher, just buy it instead)

At the end of June, only his second month in Iraq, [Paul] Bremer sent word that all local elections must stop immediately. The new plan was for Iraq's local leaders to be appointed by the occupation, just as the Governing Council had been. A defining showdown took place in Najaf, the holiest city for Iraq's Shia, the largest religious denomination in the country. Najaf was in the process of organizing citywide elections with the help of U.S. troops when, only one day before registration, the lieutenant colonel in charge got a call from Marine Major General Jim Mattis. "The election had to be canceled. Bremer was concerned that an unfriendly Islamic candidate would prevail....Bremer would not allow the wrong guy to win the election. The Marines were advised to select a group of Iraqis they thought were safe and have them pick a mayor. That was how the United States would control the process," wrote Michael Gordon and General Bernard Trainor, the authors of Cobra II, regarded as the definitive military history of the invasion. In the end, the U.S. military appointed a Saddam-era army colonel as Najaf's mayor, as they did in cities and towns across the country.
(This was one of the reasons why "de-Baathification" inspired such rage: while low-level soldiers had all lost their jobs, along with teachers and doctors who had been required to join the party in order to advance professionally, top-level Baathist military officials, well known for their human rights abuses, were being enlisted to bring order to the cities and towns.)

So much for bringing democracy to the Middle East...

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