Thursday, July 31, 2003

Conditions, conditions, always conditions. Dubya offers to pick up the entire $300 million tab for deployment of Indian troops in Iraq, put an Indian general at CentCom, and let them share in the boodle from our exploitation reconstruction of our new protectorate. He tells them it will be the best thing for India since their nuclear tests. (Really, he did). And what comes back? Conditions.

They won't deploy without a UN mandate endorsed by the Security Council. Just like the Germans and French.

And now, this. The World Bank -- the frigging World Bank, which follows the policy lead of the US Treasury often enough that it's often considered an agent of US policy -- won't issue loans to any Iraqi authority until it meets its irrelevant, niggling, pusillanimous conditions:

The president of the World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn, suggested today that the bank would lend money for the reconstruction of Iraq only after the country writes a constitution and conducts national elections.

Hey, we have contracts to issue in Iraq! We're building a cell phone network, for crying out loud, and if we wait for the Iraqis to be able to make decisions on that sort of thing themselves, they might not give us the contract! You don't know what it's like, man. We just shut down a local company from Bahrain that had starting offering cell phone service in Baghdad on its own initiative. Man, that was close!

Say, Wolfensohn... doesn't that sound like a German name?

Wolfensohn's not totally off the reservation. He still favors privatization -- which is to say, selling off government assets to the highest bidder, which isn't likely to come from inside Iraq's borders. So it isn't as if he's asking for Iraqis to actually run their own major industries, or anything like that. But still... constitution? elections? What the...?


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