Sunday, July 11, 2004

The Miracle of Privatization, Pt. MCXII 

Courtesy of Jeanne D'Arc, Vincent Omniaveritas (or is it Bruce Sterling?) on the Coalition of the Billing:
The role of private companies in Iraq has been widely reported. What hasn't gotten so much play is that, taken as a whole, contractors make up the second-largest armed force there, after the US military. Although this "army" is mostly on the Pentagon's payroll for now, it doesn't fly any flag or belong to any state. It's a multiethnic, for-profit, postnational force, and its sole agenda is to mind the bottom line. It has no incentive to stand down as long as there's money to be made. It's not afraid of terrorists, and whatever passes for an Iraqi government in the future will likely live at its mercy . . . .

Jordanian terror master Abu Musab al-Zarqawi isn't likely to quit blowing up Shiites in Iraq, and the contractors also have no reason to leave. Second only to Saudi Arabia in proven oil reserves, this ancient territory is too profitable for world markets to abandon, no matter what the locals do or say. Oil is the universal contraband, heroin for squares. Even the UN was on the take for Iraqi oil.

The US military may hastily fold its flags and officially pull out. The contractors most directly paid by the Pentagon (including BDM International, Blackwater, Halliburton, Kellogg Brown and Root, MPRI, and Vinnell) may leave, too, although no one should be surprised if they simply change their logos before returning to soak up loose cash in some different guise. But there are other outfits working in Iraq that are likely to stick around - like South Africa's Erinys, a force organized by former apartheid tough guys. Erinys doesn't prate about democracy or social betterment but simply guards oil pipelines. These troops aren't conquering anybody and they aren't liberating anybody. They exist to keep the oil moving, and they'll stay for as long as it pays . . . .

If wars for oil are bad and terror is worse, this Coalition of the Billing is a logical blend: global free-marketing at gunpoint. It's above the law, beyond the law, and worst of all, irreplaceable and utterly necessary to power the planet's nations, cities, and homes. We've suffered terror without a country. Welcome to war without flags.

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