Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Empire Watch: How to Avoid Bush's Iraq Mistakes in Libya

How to Avoid Bush's Iraq Mistakes in Libya | Informed Comment: How to Avoid Bush’s Iraq Mistakes in Libya

Posted on 08/24/2011 by Juan

The illegal American invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation was so epochal a catastrophe that it spawned a negative phrase in Arabic, “to Iraqize” or `arqana .Tonight I heard an Alarabiya anchor ask a spokesman for the new government in Libya whether there as a danger of the country being “Iraqized.” He was taken aback and asked her what she meant. Apparently she meant chaos, civil war, no services, etc. (Those Neoconservatives who trumpet their Iraq misadventure as a predecessor to the Arab Spring should take a lesson; no one cites Iraq among the youth movements except as an example of what must be avoided)

Juan goes on to list the mistakes in Iraq not to be repeated in Libya. Of course the basic assumption is that the US or NATO will run things or have a strong Imperial Presence and influence as Libya transitions and this is probably true considering the close relationship between the rebels (just who are they?) and those same imperial powers. But its still a good list for starters on how not to repeat some of the mistakes made in Iraq. Here are some examples:

1. No Western infantry or armored units should be stationed in the country. Their presence would risk inflaming the passions of the Muslim fundamentalists and of the remaining part of the population that is soft on Qaddafi.

2. As much as possible of the current bureaucracy, police and army should be retained. Only those with innocent blood on their hands or who were captured rather than surrendering or switching sides should be fired. The EU is doing the right thing in trying to ensure the bureaucrats get paid their salaries

There are ten points in all. you can read the article at the link above to see them all but I want to include one more as this is one of the first things done in Iraq. In the midst of the looting a insecurity Brennen was sent in to rewrite the constitution so privatization could begin and rebuilding contracts were inevitably handed to outside corporations leaving more Iraqis out of work or paying them a fraction of the money to do the whole job while the outside corporations kept the rest. This is what we have been calling "democratization".

5. Avoid a rush to privatize everything. Oil countries anyway inevitably have large public sectors. Impediments to entrepreneurship should be removed, but well-run state enterprises can have their place in a modern economy, as some of the Asian nations have demonstrated. Rajiv Chandrasekaran demonstrated in his Imperial Life in the Emerald City how the US fetish for privatization destroyed state factories that could otherwise have been revived and that could have supplied jobs.

Read the rest. Its a pretty good description of what we have been doing in Eastern Europe as well as Iraq as we follow our free market ideology and conflate it with Democracy.

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