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From the Grassy Knoll

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Message Michael Arvey
If George W. Bush's policies on Iraq are mystifying, fret not--there's a method to his organized chaos after all.

Bush's recent unveiling of a "plan" for victory in Iraq projected an exercise in utterly hollow rhetoric, unless it's understood to whose victory he is really referring. After the upcoming December 15 parliamentary elections in Iraq, victory will rest securely in the pockets of corporatists and their partners in the administration.

Although the national discussion revolves around exit strategies, democracy, torture, suicide bombers, et. al., it would appear that Bush's underlying intention is to stall until after December 15 before he'll openly ponder, with furrowed brow, any nod toward a military withdrawal. What will happen after December 15? U.S. corporations will have a headlock on Iraq's economy, most importantly its oil reserves, even though we were led to believe that oil, as a primary motivation behind the invasion, was conspiratorial nonsense, as with all inquiries that Bush wishes to avoid and dismiss.

As soon as the new Iraqi government provides the appearance of democratic legitimacy, major oil contracts known as Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) between U.S. corporations and the newly minted, U.S.-friendly Iraqi government will be finalized. Bush's ultimate invasion goal will be a fait accompli--victory for the forces of privatization over an entire, towed-away nation. When Bush says that "rebuilding a nation devastated by a dictator is a large undertaking," he demonstrates, once again, his projective skills.

The Global Policy Forum ( explains how the above scenario will probably unfold: "The new Iraqi constitution of 2005, greatly influenced by U.S. advisors, contains language that guarantees a major role for foreign companies. Negotiators hope soon to complete deals on Production Sharing Agreements that will give the companies control over dozens of fields, including the fabled super-giant Majnoon, but no contracts can be signed until after the elections when a new government takes office."

Furthermore, according to a November 22, 2005 Reuters UK report, "For international oilmen, deprived of access to vast Iraqi reserves for decades, long-term PSAs offer the ability to book reserves, protection from future adverse legislation and healthy profits during low oil prices." Any poor and vastly deprived oil men's names come to mind?

Along with Bush's unilateral March 2003 Executive Order No.13303, which seized full control of Iraq's oil revenues, Paul Bremer, former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, concocted 100 Orders designed to control Iraq's economy and daily life. An August 5, 2004 Los Angeles Times story, for example, reports that Bremer's Order No. 39 carries an economic wallop: "(1) privatization of Iraq's 200 state-owned enterprises (2) 100% foreign ownership of Iraqi enterprises (3)'national treatment'--which means no preferences for local over foreign businesses (4) unrestricted tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds, and (5) 40-year ownership licenses."

Consider, too, Order No. 49, which "drops the top tax rate on corporations from a high of 40% to a flat 15%," and Order No. 40, which "allows banks to purchase up to 50% of Iraq's banks." Do any of these sound like diktats to shift Iraq's economy to a privatized one, and who exactly would such a forced shift benefit? Certainly not the citizens of Iraq for whom Bush weeps crocodile tears.

The plan from the onset was always clear: plunder and privatize, privatize. And as demagogic Bill O'Reilly says, "That's what ah'm talking about."

Interestingly, when U.S. soldiers invaded Baghdad, they named their initial bases Camp Shell and Camp Exxon--even then they knew it'd eventually be a gusher of a war. And on December 15, just in time for Christmas, Bush's mission will be accomplished.
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Michael Arvey is a freelance writer and commentator. He resides in Colorado.
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