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Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

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‘You Left Us With 50 Saddams’

Posted on Sep 24, 2007
Saddam statue
AP photo / Jerome Delay

Out with the old, in with ... ?  Ousting Saddam Hussein (whose statue is seen here in mid-tumble in 2003) was one thing; dealing with the ensuing insurgency is entirely another, according to Ian Black’s report.

As the U.S. government is learning much too late, democracy is not a one-size-fits-all application that can be lifted from one culture and grafted onto another.  Here, UK reporter Ian Black from the Guardian Unlimited takes a look at what’s really going on politically and culturally in Iraq, according to a prominent historian and his Iraqi contacts.

The Guardian Unlimited:

“There was this nonsensical idea that Saddam and everything he created was a kind of freak and that once you eradicated him the whole thing would fall apart and the potential for a liberal, democratic and a civil society would emerge as if somehow he was the only problem,” he [Charles Tripp] says. “But Saddam was a recognisable part of Iraqi history. Many Iraqis feel now that they’ve been delivered into the hands of many lesser dictators. As one of my friends said: ‘Thanks very much: you got rid of one Saddam and you left us with 50.’ ”

Tripp is scholarly and quietly-spoken but there is no ivory-tower reticence about his analysis. The US had “up to date, unprejudiced and non-ideological” experts in the CIA, state department and the academic world, but politicians who listened to out-of-touch Iraqi exiles pushing their own agenda cut them out of the loop. Post-war planning, such as it was, was taken over by the Pentagon.

Part of the problem, he argues, was profound ignorance about what went on beneath the surface of Saddam’s dictatorship, what he calls a “shadow state” that ran on cooption, collaboration and patronage as well as repression and fear. That led to the disastrous decision to outlaw the Ba’ath party. “Lack of understanding on that score was unbelievable. By purging it you alienated tens of thousands of people who would otherwise have very happily served the next regime. They weren’t going to work for the restoration of Saddam Hussein.

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By Abdulkarim Ahmad Bajuber, October 11, 2007 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Bush Administration is dreaming. They want to become The Second Columbus and recorded in future history as The Founder of Arabia. Never Too Late To Colonialize ?? It’s really true what someone said : US Civilization is fed by human blood. And sooner or later you’ll see a new country named United States of Arabia. Wake up Bush!

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By cyrena, September 25, 2007 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Ernest, for the excellent summary. I was so impressed with Naomi’s book, (as well as all of her previous work) that I’ve included it on a syllabus for the upcoming term. I have high hopes for spreading some practical knowledge. Considering that one has to now mortgage their 2nd and 3rd borns, in order to pay to educate the 1st born, I just wanna make sure everybody is getting their money’s worth. I don’t wanna have to hear parents say, (at graduation)…. My daughter/son is now a proctologist-geologist, who doesn’t know his/her ass from a hole in the ground.

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By cann4ing, September 25, 2007 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

To Tom Billis & Cyrena:  As revealed by Naomi Klein in her recently published book, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” Iraq is but a proving ground for the shock and awe economic transformations first advocated by Milton Friedman and first experimented on in Pinochet’s Chile.  Knowing that these so-called “free market reforms” are immensely unpopular since they benefit a tiny economic elite at the expense of the many, Friedman advocated economic “shock therapy” in which a nation is struck with the entire gamut of privatization while its people are still too numb from the effects of a disaster (natural or man made) to react.  The 100 Bremer edicts, which instantaneously privatized 192 of Iraq’s 193 state-owned industries (oil being the only exception) and which placed them in the hands of multi-national corporations, which did not have to hire Iraqis and could withdraw capital at their pleasure, edicts that were written into the final draft of Iraq’s constitution by Ambassador Khalizad and a hand-picked Iraqis, then unknowingly ratified by 9.8 million Iraqis who voted to approve a constition they had never seen, accomplished that goal.

Klein refers to a “disaster capitalism complex” which “has farther-reaching tentacles than the military-industrial complex…:  this is global war fought on every level by private companies whose involvement is paid for with public money….The ultimate goal for the corporations at the center of the complex is to bring the model of for-profit government…into the ordinary and day-to-day functioning of the state—in effect, to privatize the government.

“To kick-start the disaster capitalism complex, the Bush administration outsourced, with no public debate, many of the most sensitive and core functions of government—from providing health care to soldiers, to interrogating prisoners, to gathering and ‘data mining’ information on all of us.  The role of the government in this unending war is not that of an administrator managing a network of contractors but of a deep-pocketed venture capitalist, both providing it’s seed money for the complex’s creation and becoming the biggest customer for its new services.”

Yes, it’s about the oil but it is much more.  As noted by the Nation magazine, “an Iraqi is killed every ten minutes and an American soldier, every ten hours.  And every ten days, $2 billion is taken from our Treasury and pumped into the coffers of Blackwater, Halliburton and other war profiteers.”

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By anonymous, September 25, 2007 at 5:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Brendan’s shilling for  The site lists David Beaumont Smith as Executive Director and Founder.

“David has also worked on political fundraising events with the President, Vice President, and First Lady of the United States. All told, he assisted in fundraising nearly $5 million for Congressional and Gubernatorial candidates.”

“all partisan,” my ass!

I’m not sure what this clown’s idea of a Democracy 2.0 should be but, no system can work when this country is run by crooks.

Our 18th century system was fine until people decided to ignore it.

David Beaumont Smith - remember that name,  This fellow is out to fuck things up good!

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By Miguel, September 25, 2007 at 4:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Get this…

Captain Matthew Didier, a US officer serving in Iraq in charge of a sniper platoon, said: “Basically we would put an item (military equipment) out there and watch it. If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against the US forces.”

“Weapons left by US troops ‘used as bait to kill Iraqis’”

Do I really need to make a comment on how immorall our troups in Iraq (for that matter anywhere in the worl) are?

“Support our troups”, yea right!

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By thomas billis, September 25, 2007 at 3:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Earnest of course you are right.Leave it to those greedy bastards to turn lemons into lemonade with the enabling democratic congress.If your company was making a couple of billion dollars would you care what Bush’s approval ratings are.The joke is with that money they will buy the democrats and continue on.Joe Kennedy JFK’s father once said “I always knew that Senators were for sale I did not know it would be so cheap”.You people out there who think there will be a sea change in American politics if the democrats are elected are in for a huge disappointment.The only thing that will change is who the checks are made out to.Please Mr Bloomberg run.Give us some hope.

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By cyrena, September 24, 2007 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment

Ernest, I’m guessing the enormous profits made by all of the privateers have been a PLANNED by-product. The foundation was –THE OIL –  Top prize.

This is a disturbing article for those who’ve preferred not to believe it. It’s too painful an acceptance for so many who have lost loved ones fighting in Iraq. Still…it is what it is, and what it always was. The OIL.

Oil and Betrayal in Iraq
  By George Lakoff

  t r u t h o u t | Perspective

And yep, I know a few of the dozens and dozens of experts who predicted all of this. But, when we consider that nothing was going to deter cheney from getting the oil, none of that ever mattered.

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By Brendan, September 24, 2007 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Help Create Democracy 2.0

Week Released: September 17-21, 2007

The Millennial Generation, including myself, is interested in being an
active part of changing public policy. This interest led me to be a part of
Mobilize.org¹s Democracy 2.0 Campaign.

On July 4, began the Democracy 2.0 project to call attention to
the ways that our democratic process and institutions are properly serving
and failing to serve the interests of Americans, specifically young
Americans. The purpose of Democracy 2.0 is to call attention to the main
problems of our current political system, highlight the distinct
characteristics of the Millennial Generation, and provide guidelines for
change to help cultivate a renewed political process in America.

Currently, our political system is trying to manage a 21st century society
with 18th century political institutions. Democracy 2.0 will upgrade our
current political system, empowering citizens to identify community
problems, propose solutions, be a part of the implementation of these
solutions, and change the way politics is done in this country.

To begin this endeavor, asked a series of questions and
collected data from youth, ages 16-30 that will be reviewed and evaluated by
Democracy 2.0 Ambassadors at the Democracy 2.0 Summit on October 3, 2007,
with the intention of releasing the Democracy 2.0 Declaration of Our
Generation. The Declaration of our Generation is a short statement of
principles describing a citizen-centered approach to democracy. The
Declaration will focus on three themes: 1) What currently works and what
does not work in our democracy; 2) What defines our generation; and 3) What
Democracy 2.0 should look like.

The Declaration will call attention to areas in which the government is
succeeding and failing to serve the public interest, highlight the unique
and defining characteristics of our generation, and provide guidelines that
will serve as a call to action for American citizens to help create this
renewed form of democracy.

I wanted to mention this opportunity since every posting here has an
interest in this. is looking for people who want to serve as
Democracy 2.0 Online Ambassadors to be a part of the drafting process.  If
you have any questions, please shoot me an e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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By QuyTran, September 24, 2007 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

Thanks to Bush/Cheney and their debauched administration there’re much more Saddams in Iraq.

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By cann4ing, September 24, 2007 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

Thomas Billis, you are right about the oil, but let’s not forget that the war and continued occupation are an exceedingly lucrative venture for the likes of Halliburton, Blackwater and the host of other “private” companies which feed on the public trough.

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By boggs, September 24, 2007 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

The neo-cons are still trying to spin the old WMD and absolutely will not listen to the OIL arguement.
Makes me wonder where Bush’s humanity went. It certainly took leave while he looks for a legacy.
The Republicans could care less whether the Iraqi people are safe, secure, homeless, injured, hungry or terrorized on a daily basis. No utilities, no jobs, no homes, and now no hope….!

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By rage, September 24, 2007 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And, the oil still didn’t pay for this fiasco. What a mess!

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By thomas billis, September 24, 2007 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How many times does it need to be said?The regime here did not care about reasonable analysis.They wanted to control the oil.They believed whatever analysis come to the conclusion we will control their oil.I am sure in the grand plan it was supposed to be Prime Minister Chalabi.You could look at Iraq as Katrina East.

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