Saturday, April 27, 2024

Terror in the Iraq that Bully Boy Bush and Barack birthed and parented

Iraq could be a thriving democracy in the 21st century.  It might still become that.  It's no where near that now.  It's a corrupt government filled with fundamentalists and that's the fault of the US government.  Bully Boy Bush put them in power.  Barack Obama continued to promote them.  

This was never for Iraq, this was always to harm Iraq and help the US.

For Bully Boy Bush, putting the fundamentalists in charge meant that he could steal their resources and restructure their government with little objection from the Iraqi people because they were being destroyed by these fundamentalists.  

Iraq was a secular nation before the US-led invasion of 2003 and women had rights.  

Naomi Klein coined "the shock doctrine" to describe how the Iraqi people were thrown off balance in an essay she wrote for HARPER'S -- "Baghdad Year Zero" (via COMMON DREAMS): 

It was only after I had been in Baghdad for a month that I found what I was looking for. I had traveled to Iraq a year after the war began, at the height of what should have been a construction boom, but after weeks of searching I had not seen a single piece of heavy machinery apart from tanks and humvees. Then I saw it: a construction crane. It was big and yellow and impressive, and when I caught a glimpse of it around a corner in a busy shopping district I thought that I was finally about to witness some of the reconstruction I had heard so much about. But as I got closer I noticed that the crane was not actually rebuilding anything--not one of the bombed-out government buildings that still lay in rubble all over the city, nor one of the many power lines that remained in twisted heaps even as the heat of summer was starting to bear down. No, the crane was hoisting a giant billboard to the top of a three-story building. SUNBULAH: HONEY 100% NATURAL, made in Saudi Arabia.

Seeing the sign, I couldn't help but think about something Senator John McCain had said back in October. Iraq, he said, is "a huge pot of honey that's attracting a lot of flies." The flies McCain was referring to were the Halliburtons and Bechtels, as well as the venture capitalists who flocked to Iraq in the path cleared by Bradley Fighting Vehicles and laser-guided bombs. The honey that drew them was not just no-bid contracts and Iraq's famed oil wealth but the myriad investment opportunities offered by a country that had just been cracked wide open after decades of being sealed off, first by the nationalist economic policies of Saddam Hussein, then by asphyxiating United Nations sanctions.

Looking at the honey billboard, I was also reminded of the most common explanation for what has gone wrong in Iraq, a complaint echoed by everyone from John Kerry to Pat Buchanan: Iraq is mired in blood and deprivation because George W. Bush didn't have "a postwar plan." The only problem with this theory is that it isn't true. The Bush Administration did have a plan for what it would do after the war; put simply, it was to lay out as much honey as possible, then sit back and wait for the flies.

* * *

The honey theory of Iraqi reconstruction stems from the most cherished belief of the war's ideological architects: that greed is good. Not good just for them and their friends but good for humanity, and certainly good for Iraqis. Greed creates profit, which creates growth, which creates jobs and products and services and everything else anyone could possibly need or want. The role of good government, then, is to create the optimal conditions for corporations to pursue their bottomless greed, so that they in turn can meet the needs of the society. The problem is that governments, even neoconservative governments, rarely get the chance to prove their sacred theory right: despite their enormous ideological advances, even George Bush's Republicans are, in their own minds, perennially sabotaged by meddling Democrats, intractable unions, and alarmist environmentalists.

Iraq was going to change all that. In one place on Earth, the theory would finally be put into practice in its most perfect and uncompromised form. A country of 25 million would not be rebuilt as it was before the war; it would be erased, disappeared. In its place would spring forth a gleaming showroom for laissez-faire economics, a utopia such as the world had never seen. Every policy that liberates multinational corporations to pursue their quest for profit would be put into place: a shrunken state, a flexible workforce, open borders, minimal taxes, no tariffs, no ownership restrictions. The people of Iraq would, of course, have to endure some short-term pain: assets, previously owned by the state, would have to be given up to create new opportunities for growth and investment. Jobs would have to be lost and, as foreign products flooded across the border, local businesses and family farms would, unfortunately, be unable to compete. But to the authors of this plan, these would be small prices to pay for the economic boom that would surely explode once the proper conditions were in place, a boom so powerful the country would practically rebuild itself.

The fact that the boom never came and Iraq continues to tremble under explosions of a very different sort should never be blamed on the absence of a plan. Rather, the blame rests with the plan itself, and the extraordinarily violent ideology upon which it is based.

* * *

Torturers believe that when electrical shocks are applied to various parts of the body simultaneously subjects are rendered so confused about where the pain is coming from that they become incapable of resistance. A declassified CIA "Counterintelligence Interrogation" manual from 1963 describes how a trauma inflicted on prisoners opens up "an interval--which may be extremely brief--of suspended animation, a kind of psychological shock or paralysis. . . . [A]t this moment the source is far more open to suggestion, far likelier to comply." A similar theory applies to economic shock therapy, or "shock treatment," the ugly term used to describe the rapid implementation of free-market reforms imposed on Chile in the wake of General Augusto Pinochet's coup. The theory is that if painful economic "adjustments" are brought in rapidly and in the aftermath of a seismic social disruption like a war, a coup, or a government collapse, the population will be so stunned, and so preoccupied with the daily pressures of survival, that it too will go into suspended animation, unable to resist. As Pinochet's finance minister, Admiral Lorenzo Gotuzzo, declared, "The dog's tail must be cut off in one chop."

That, in essence, was the working thesis in Iraq, and in keeping with the belief that private companies are more suited than governments for virtually every task, the White House decided to privatize the task of privatizing Iraq's state-dominated economy. Two months before the war began, USAID began drafting a work order, to be handed out to a private company, to oversee Iraq's "transition to a sustainable market-driven economic system." The document states that the winning company (which turned out to be the KPMG offshoot Bearing Point) will take "appropriate advantage of the unique opportunity for rapid progress in this area presented by the current configuration of political circumstances." Which is precisely what happened.

L. Paul Bremer, who led the U.S. occupation of Iraq from May 2, 2003, until he caught an early flight out of Baghdad on June 28, admits that when he arrived, "Baghdad was on fire, literally, as I drove in from the airport." But before the fires from the "shock and awe" military onslaught were even extinguished, Bremer unleashed his shock therapy, pushing through more wrenching changes in one sweltering summer than the International Monetary Fund has managed to enact over three decades in Latin America. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate and former chief economist at the World Bank, describes Bremer's reforms as "an even more radical form of shock therapy than pursued in the former Soviet world."

The tone of Bremer's tenure was set with his first major act on the job: he fired 500,000 state workers, most of them soldiers, but also doctors, nurses, teachers, publishers, and printers. Next, he flung open the country's borders to absolutely unrestricted imports: no tariffs, no duties, no inspections, no taxes. Iraq, Bremer declared two weeks after he arrived, was "open for business."

One month later, Bremer unveiled the centerpiece of his reforms. Before the invasion, Iraq's non-oil-related economy had been dominated by 200 state-owned companies, which produced everything from cement to paper to washing machines. In June, Bremer flew to an economic summit in Jordan and announced that these firms would be privatized immediately. "Getting inefficient state enterprises into private hands," he said, "is essential for Iraq's economic recovery." It would be the largest state liquidation sale since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But Bremer's economic engineering had only just begun. In September, to entice foreign investors to come to Iraq, he enacted a radical set of laws unprecedented in their generosity to multinational corporations. There was Order 37, which lowered Iraq's corporate tax rate from roughly 40 percent to a flat 15 percent. There was Order 39, which allowed foreign companies to own 100 percent of Iraqi assets outside of the natural-resource sector. Even better, investors could take 100 percent of the profits they made in Iraq out of the country; they would not be required to reinvest and they would not be taxed. Under Order 39, they could sign leases and contracts that would last for forty years. Order 40 welcomed foreign banks to Iraq under the same favorable terms. All that remained of Saddam Hussein's economic policies was a law restricting trade unions and collective bargaining.

If these policies sound familiar, it's because they are the same ones multinationals around the world lobby for from national governments and in international trade agreements. But while these reforms are only ever enacted in part, or in fits and starts, Bremer delivered them all, all at once. Overnight, Iraq went from being the most isolated country in the world to being, on paper, its widest-open market.

* * *

At first, the shock-therapy theory seemed to hold: Iraqis, reeling from violence both military and economic, were far too busy staying alive to mount a political response to Bremer's campaign. Worrying about the privatization of the sewage system was an unimaginable luxury with half the population lacking access to clean drinking water; the debate over the flat tax would have to wait until the lights were back on. Even in the international press, Bremer's new laws, though radical, were easily upstaged by more dramatic news of political chaos and rising crime.

Bully Boy Bush could only steal the Iraqi people's future by deploying fundamentalists to take over the government. and thus began one 'brain drain' after another.  Doctors and lawyers were among the first to leave.  The world press seemed to be a little bothered by this but not much.  The 'brain drain' coverage never bothered to deal with reality.

It was safety, the brain drain coverage insisted, forcing the educated professional class out of Iraq.

No, it was the US government putting fundamentalists in charge that created the safety issues.  

But that was too much work for a whorish press that had spent the lead up to the illegal war cheering the war on.

Instead it was, "How is this happening -- what is going on with the safety?????"

What was going on was what was always planned to go on.  

But again, whores don't tell the truth, there's no money in the truth and a whore's all about the money.

Barack Obama comes along with one lie after another.and paints himself into a corner as one promise after another is exposed as a lie with regards to Iraq.  The first to be exposed should have been that he would pull the US forces out of Iraq within ten months of being sworn in as president.  And if whores like John Nichols -- what, you thought press whores only worked for corporate media -- hadn't lied, it would have been.  Samantha Power resigned from the campaign in March 2008 not because she called Hillary Clinton "a monster."  She weathered that storm and it was over.  She resigned because the BBC was about to air the interview where she said Barack's promise to exit Iraq wasn't a promise, that a candidate couldn't be held to a promise made on the campaign trail and that, if elected, he'd decide what to do.  That wasn't what he was promising at those campaign rallies.  So Samantha had to leave immediately that way, when the interview aired, the campaign could -- and did say (to the few that bothered to ask) -- "Samantha Power is no longer a part of this campaign."

Sadly, she returned.  And she was the one -- along with Susan Rice -- arguing hardest that thug Nouri al-Maliki should be given a second term as prime minister.  

It was 2010.

Nouri had lost the election.  Ayad Allawi should have been the new prime minister.  

Iraqiya won the election by being Iraq -- not a sect, not a division.  Iraqiya was the only party that welcomed all -- Shi'ites, Sunnis, religious minorities, men and women . . . 

That's how they defeated Nouri's State of Law.  Nouri who was undefeatable according to the US media.  Sure thing Nouri, the day after the election -- with no vote count released -- was the prime minister -- that's what lying whore Quil Lawrence declared on NPR's MORNING EDITION.

We called it -- we called out Samantha and her BBC interview, we called it all out.

Nouri did not win the election.  He threw a tantrum and they did a recount and tossed a few more votes his way but he still did not win.

But he refused to step down.

And that was the death of democracy hopes in Iraq.

It'll be a major part of history.  The whores won't be able to prevent that.  And some journalists and historians told the truth in real time.

Iraqiya was the promise of an Iraq for everyone.  And that's how this new political party managed to sweep past Nouri and the thugs.

The Iraqi people turned out to vote despite the threats of violence.

And they won.

But the US government didn't care.  Nouri refused to step down.  We quickly labeled it "a political stalemate."  A friend in the US government told me that the term was being used here too soon.  It was the third month at that point.  The political stalemate would continue for eight months and assorted days.  By that point, even news outlets had joined us in calling it what it was: a political stalemate.

It was ended by The Erbil Agreement.

If anyone covered 2010 in Iraq then or since and doesn't tell you about The Erbil Agreement, they are a partisan whore for the Democratic Party or, at least a whore for Barack.  That includes a number of 'brave' and 'independent' voices for England's INDEPENDENT newspaper. 

Joe Biden led the deal brokering.  It was signed off on by all the major political parties who agreed to let Nouri remain prime minister and, in exchange, second-term prime minister Nouri would do all sorts of things.  This was all written into the contract.  And Barack personally told Ayad Allawi that this was a legal contract with the full backing of the US government.  But Ayad never got the position -- terrorism chief -- that was promised him in the contract.  In fact, Nouri told everyone after the contract was signed that it would be a few weeks before he could implement things.

He never implemented the contract.  He used it to stay on as prime minister.  And his right-hand then told the press that Nouri did not feel the contract was legal so Nouri ignored it.

And Barack who had said it was legal and had the complete backing of the US government?  He stopped taking Allawi's calls.  

Democracy was new to Iraq.  By refusing to insist that the election results be recognized and respected, the US killed the chances for democracy in Iraq. 

All of this is to explain the depressing state of Iraq today. How bad is it?

The US State Dept even felt the need to complain:

The United States is deeply concerned by the Iraqi Council of Representatives’ passage of an amendment to existing legislation, officially called the Anti-Prostitution and Homosexuality Law, which threatens constitutionally protected human rights and fundamental freedoms. The law bans same-sex relations with steep fines and imprisonment and punishes those who “promote homosexuality.” Limiting the rights of certain individuals in a society undermines the rights of all.

This amendment threatens those most at risk in Iraqi society. It can be used to hamper free-speech and expression and inhibit the operations of NGOs across Iraq. The legislation also weakens Iraq’s ability to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment. International business coalitions have already indicated that such discrimination in Iraq will harm business and economic growth in the country.

Respect for human rights and political and economic inclusion is essential for Iraq’s security, stability, and prosperity. This legislation is inconsistent with these values and undermines the government’s political and economic reform efforts.

RTE quotes Amnesty International's Razaw Salihy stating, "Iraq has effectively codified in law the discrimination and violence members of the LGBTI community have been subjected to with absolute impunity for years. [. . .] The amendments concerning LGBTI rights are a violation of fundamental human rights and put at risk Iraqis whose lives are already hounded daily." REUTERS adds, "It was backed mainly by conservative Shi'ite Muslim parties who form the largest coalition in mainly Muslim Iraq's parliament. [. . .]  Until Saturday, Iraq didn't explicitly criminalise gay sex, though loosely defined morality clauses in its penal code had been used to target LGBT people, and members of the community have also been killed by armed groups and individuals." 

Passing the bill had been postponed until after Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani's visit to the US earlier this month, according to lawmaker Raed al-Maliki, who advanced the amendments.

"We didn't want to impact the visit," Mr al-Maliki told the AFP news agency, adding that it was "an internal matter and we do not accept any interference in Iraqi affairs".

Oh, shut up, you dirty whore.  You can lie all you want but the world will call you out for the lying whore you are.  "We do not accept any interference in Iraqi affairs."

Liar.  Your wimpy little prime minister promised the Iraqi people that US forces would leave Iraq.  Your do nothing crook of a prime minister came to the US and . . .  refused to demand US forces leave Iraq.  He's a joke and a fraud.  And to distract from this, you whores pass this attack on LGBTQ+ people in order to pretend you actually do something.

You do nothing but destroy Iraq.  And the Iraqi people will one day destroy you.  And you will have had it coming.

We did a special edition of the gina & krista round-robin today due to this development.  For the roundtable, we especially reached out to community members in Iraq -- and the time was worked around their schedule -- as well as some community members who are Iraqi exiles.  

I'm furious over what happened and that might be why the question came up in the roundtable.  But, for anyone worried who does not get the gina & krista round-robin, I'm not walking away from coverage of Iraq.  I do have other things to cover. 

And I will cover other things.

But this isn't a 'I wash my hands of this country' moment.  I do not mistake whorish politicians for the people they refuse to represent -- not in the US, not in Israel, not in Iraq.

This violence -- and passing that law was violence -- is a direct result of the bullies that Bully Boy Bush and Barack put in charge.  And, as I also noted, you can expect Iraq's LGBTQ+ community to march in protest.  Iraqi women have been very brave and marched for their rights every time the US and its Iraqi cronies tried to strip them of their rights.  But there have already been waves of assaults on Iraq's LGBTQ+ community.  And now these people also face jail time.  So they're being disenfranchised and they risk arrest if they protest.  This is the result of the policies of Bully Boy Bush and Barack Obama.

And we see those policies coming to evil fruition in a death today.  AP reports:

Iraqi authorities on Saturday were investigating the killing of a well-known social media influencer, who was shot in front of her home in central Baghdad.

Ghufran Mahdi Sawadi, known as “Um Fahad,” was popular on the social media sites TikTok and Instagram, where she posted videos of herself dancing to music and was followed by tens of thousands of users.

 Aqeel Najim, Nechirvan Mando and Duarte Mendonca (CNN) add, "The attack took place in the Zayouna area east of Baghdad, and was captured on video by a surveillance camera and shared on social media. The video shows a gunman riding a motorcycle shooting and killing Sawadi on the spot. A Baghdad police source confirmed the authenticity of the video to CNN. "   Kathryn Armstrong (BBC NEWS) adds:

Fahad became well-known on TikTok for sharing videos of herself dancing to pop music in form-hugging clothes - earning her tens of thousands of followers.

She was sentenced to six months in prison last year for sharing videos that the court ruled undermined "modesty and public morality".

This followed the launch of a government committee to monitor social media sites for content it deemed offensive and punish those responsible for it.

The independent Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said at the time: "Iraqi authorities' detention and conviction of several social media content creators on vague charges that do not justify the restriction of natural rights is extremely concerning."

The following sites updated:


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