15 November, 2003

Demands for Iraq

The Americans are apparently considering withdrawing by summer from Iraq. A long time ago (in April) I and a friend drew up a list of things that needed to get done in order to have a good democracy in Iraq. They were, briefly:

  • Cancel the debts.
  • Create an interim government by means of a temporary constitution and regional elections to elect representatives to a parliament (administered by the U.N.)
  • Create a democracy according to the design of the interim government.
  • No privatization by the interim government or occupying authorities.
  • Contracts should go preferentially to Iraqi companies, or if this is impossible should take place through partnerships with Iraqi companies.
  • The occupying forces should repay reconstruction costs.

Needless to say none of these have actually been carried out to date; in fact, privatization of many state-sector utilities was announced several weeks ago. It's amazing that the Americans would think they have the right to do this... what gives them the mandate to make such decisions on behalf of an entire nation? Especially since privatization is hardly a mundane issue - it's usually fought tooth-and-nail, often so hard that governments fall because of it. None of the other points came through either; the CPA appointed a puppet-show council, and contracts went to the American companies best tied to the Bush administration.

But anyway, at long last we're going to see some move towards constructing a democracy the proper way. Not because the Americans have woken up and found morality, but because they're getting their asses kicked on the battlefield and need to get out of there, fast. The lesson they're teaching the world is, "The United States is weak. Kick it, and it will run in the right direction." Way to make the world safer, George. If you had only done the right thing in the first place...

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