Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Iraq's Tidal Wave of Misery

The horror of the Iraqi refugee crisis has been outlined in detail previously, but Michael Schwartz adds a useful angle by tying it to the overall neoliberal project in Iraq, along with the desire to maintain a long-term foreign presence in the country.

In his words, the refugee crisis "had a silver lining":

The Iraqi government's incapacity to perform at almost any level became but further justification for the claims first made by L. Paul Bremer at the very beginning of the occupation: that the country's reconstruction would be best handled by private enterprise. Moreover, the mass flight of Iraqi professionals, managers, and technicians has meant that expertise for reconstruction has simply been unavailable inside the country. This has, in turn, validated a second set of claims made by Bremer: that reconstruction could only be managed by large outside contractors.
So: 1) Create conditions that force people to flee. 2) Point to the fleeing as a reason why you have to import so many foreign contractors. 3) Then point to the existing chaos and lack of indigenous "human capital" as a reason why you need to stick around.

Imperial logic works a treat.