What the Bush administration has created in Iraq is a sort of paradise of perverted capitalism, where revenues are forcibly extracted from the customer by the state, and obscene profits are handed out not by the market but by an unaccountable government bureaucracy. This is the triumphant culmination of two centuries of flawed white-people thinking, a preposterous mix of authoritarian socialism and laissez-faire profiteering, with all the worst aspects of both ideologies rolled up into one pointless, supremely idiotic military adventure -- American men and women dying by the thousands, so that Karl Marx and Adam Smith can blow each other in a Middle Eastern glory hole.The article describes the waste in both matériel and people created by cascading cost-plus contracts, the outright theft of equipment and cash, and US provisioning of arms to the enemy. It details how government whistle-blowers are systematically punished for calling attention to these crimes, and how the Bush administration deliberately intervenes to prevent lawsuits against war profiteers from proceeding, and any judgments that manage to be entered from being enforced. It describes how contractors regularly break the law, including the laws that mandate medical insurance for their employees in a war zone, resulting in men crippled for life who now face medical bills totalling nearly a half million dollars, who cannot even afford painkillers. And perhaps most tragic of all is the extent of the moral decay that has permeated the heart of that which is invoked in the name of patriotism.
What happened in Iraq went beyond inefficiency, beyond fraud even. This was about the business of government being corrupted by the profit motive to such an extraordinary degree that now we all have to wonder how we will ever be able to depend on the state to do its job in the future. If catastrophic failure is worth billions, where's the incentive to deliver success? There's no profit in patriotism, no cost-plus angle on common decency. Sixty years after America liberated Europe, those are just words, and words don't pay the bills.When President Bush talks about surges and staying the course, it is now very clear which course he wants to stay.
[Technorati tags: iraq | fraud | war profiteering | rolling stone]