While the Administration denies media reports that it has given US forces in Iraq the go-ahead to shoot looters on sight, Donald Rumsfeld, testifying last week before the Senate Appropriations Committee, promised that US forces will be “using muscle” to contain the looting. Rumsfeld also called for patience, saying of Iraq: “We can’t make it like the United States in five minutes, and we know that.”
Some good Senator should have asked Rumsfeld about the looting going on in Washington, DC. Politically-connected corporations with close ties to the Bush Administration are arranging lucrative contracts to rebuild Iraq. (Bechtel has a contract worth up to $700 million and the Halliburton subsidiary has been authorized to take profits of up to $490 million.) And where was the Senator to point out how singularly ill-suited the Bush Administration is to the task of rebuilding Iraq?
Bush Inc.–the most resolutely anti-government Administration since before the New Deal–is brazenly indifferent to the rebuilding–or even the maintaining–of the United States. So Rumsfeld & Co’s idea of making Iraq like the US may not take as much time as they think–if it means gutting the infrastructure of a country, while looting its treasury (and oil wealth) to line the pockets of war-profiteering corporations.