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The Pen is Mightier
August 30, 2002
By Brad Radcliffe

As the Bush warlords relentlessly drag the U.S. into another "police action" with Iraq, the question arises: instead of the messy, costly government subsidized destruction that is military violence, why doesn't Bush just take over Iraq easy way, that is, the same way he took over his own country - with crony capitalism?

He's already shown us how simple it is. Continually spout laissez faire economic mantras like "self correcting markets" and "the unseen hand of the marketplace" - just make sure that those unseen hands are really the sweaty palms of Bush pals holding firmly to the massive, cold steel of the levers of power.

This means our fearless leader will have to reverse his belligerent stand against Iraq and make nice with the man his father called a modern day Hitler. But the American public is used to, even expecting, the abrupt and arbitrary changes of his whipsawing positions without explanation or clarification, so this is less a problem than it might first appear.

From challenging Gore on cutting carbon dioxide emissions then dumping his own pledge his first month in office to sucking dry the surplus then calling for an end to deficit spending just last week - his wild gyrations in policy has whipped consistency around like a six year old on a Tilt-A-Whirl, so far with strangely little effect on the almighty approval ratings.

The American public doesn't really expect George W. to make up his mind, for they know full well he doesn't have a mind, c'mon!

As bad as it might seem for the tall walking, slow talking (well, inarticulate at least) Texan to look like "all hat and no cattle" when he rolls alongside the big wheel on the Axis of Evil, major flip-flops on important issues are nothing his people can't handle. Given enough time, Brit Hume and Andrea Mitchell would break the inevitable news story of how militancy against Saddam was a wrong-headed Clinton policy, to distract the voters from Vince Foster's "suspicious" suicide no doubt, with the U.S. News cover "Clinton's Failed War with Saddam" in bilious green letters soon to follow.

At any rate, once that small hurdle of completely reversing himself had been cleared, the Mighty Helmsman is ready to put into practice the "Golden Rule" of politics: "he who has the gold, rules."

Our team of crackerjack business executives can be parachuted into Baghdad like vultures on fresh kill - think Al Pacino's syndicate to hapless Moe Green in The Godfather II. Our Ken Lays will help the energy ministry develop a "business-friendly free-market environment" that will funnel profits directly to the people who earn them, top executives and their government toadies. Our Jack Welchs (NBC) and Rupert Murdochs (FOX News) will "aid and assist" the propaganda ministry in the fine art of all the news that's fit to support your great leader, no matter how loopy his ramblings may become. And if these media czars make obscene profits that end up in off shore accounts - hey, what's wrong with that, you a communist or something?

Vice President Cheney, the man many privately refer to as Monsieur Je Ne Sais Quoi, could personally instruct Saddam's people in that all-important skill of liaisoning between the political and private spheres. First, work in high level politics. Second, sell that experience to a big multi-national like . . . say . . . oh . . . Halliburton . . . for uhm . . . $36 million, then ping-pong back into the public sector as a staunch defender of the "average people's interests."

Mr. Bush however has the most important role to play, as befits his position. He will teach the Iraqi government how to allow egregious crime by corporate fat cats while giving those same filthy rich executives huge tax breaks at the expense of the vast majority. No doubt it will have the same effect there as here - millions thrown out of work, life savings wiped out, stock market crash, capital spending gone, research and development decimated - in other words, it will ruin the economy more effectively than a gaggle of tomahawk missiles slamming into the Iraqi treasury.

After free market "reforms," the profits from the vast oil reserves of Iraq would at last flow to the people who matter - the people at the top levels of business and government. No longer would the average Iraqi expect any pay-off for having been born on top of huge oilfields. Now Iraq would be "a land of opportunity" in which anyone can get rich - just look at all the rich people - so if you're poor, it's your own damn fault, and if you complain about it, what are you, some kind of communist or something? You can't get that kind of willing submission to allow the rich to get richer with anything as crude as a bomb, George - you of all people know that.

Woody Guthrie writes in a famous folksong-"as through this world you travel / you'll meet some funny men / some rob you with a six gun / and some with a fountain pen." Mr. President, why take Iraq with a six gun? Just unleash the real Mafiosi, the men who steal billions under the law with their perfectly legal forced acquisitions and stock options, tax havens, pension grabs, and political slush funds. After they get done wringing the wealth out of that country, Iraq will fall spent and useless as an old dishrag.

When wielded to sign contracts by crony capitalists, the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Executives, right face, march!

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