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The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time Hardcover – May 2006

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8f9452dc) out of 5 stars 26 reviews
79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9007ad98) out of 5 stars "You can fool some of the people some of the time..." 28 April 2006
By cvairag - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Ms Juhasz has really done her homework. The book is to be praised for giving us the nitty-gritty of what's going on with the attempt to steal Iraq's national wealth. Names are named, and the actual facts of the anatomy of the Bush Iraq policy are laid out. Notably, the fact that there was a highly detailed plan for post-invasion policy which is currently very much in place and proceeding: business as usual.
Anyone who takes the least notice of the contents of this incisive analysis can never again claim at the bottom line that we went into Iraq with any other than pure and simple profit motive (U.S. corporate profit, that is). None can again claim, in the face of the array of facts and dot-connections which Ms Juhasz has so diligently marshalled, that this war has any sort of ideological basis - other than a skewed neo-con vision of slave state capitalism - or that real concern for the "safety of the average American" was ever at its heart. What we are speaking of here is the flow of money - and Ms Juhasz has doggedly followed the money and mapped its flow. Herein, is the perspective from which future historians will adjudicate the moral justifications for this pre-emptive war. Never has the old platitude "The business of America is business" appeared as bald and as grisly in the face of the naked black and white. The must read book of the season.
90 of 97 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f7c7dc8) out of 5 stars A war against terror - or a quest for economic hegemony? Good discussion that gets below the rhetoric. 26 April 2006
By D. Stuart - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It is quite apparent now that the signature decision of the George W Bush administration was the decision, made before any evidence was available, to invade Iraq. It was as if there was an agenda waiting for an excuse to unlock it. That's the thesis of this book: that Bush - or perhaps more correctly the Power Base behind George W - have an economic agenda that is now being rolled out relentlessly.

To quote Democracy Now! publication: "The book tracks the radical neo-liberal economic program the Bush administration has tried to impose on Iraq, which threatens to leave Iraq's economy and oil reserves largely in the hands of multinational corporations. It's an agenda, the book says, that the Bush administration is trying to bring to all corners of the globe."

I'm not completely certain of Anotinia Juhasz' argument. She has a philosophic leaning against Globalization as we know it, and meanwhile Bush seems to have been too random a President; too knee-jerk, too reactive, for this thesis to hold consistent weight. I'm not convinced that a president who scarcely had a view of foreign policy prior to entering the White House, should suddenly have developed a plan so sophisticated as we see in this book.

Between Rumsfeld, Bremer and the team however, there have been some huge dollars made from the War in Iraq. To cite the author in the LA Times:

"Although the military campaign is in chaos, the economic campaign is moving along quite nicely, at least for U.S. corporations and the Republican Party.

Halliburton, far and away the largest recipient of Iraq reconstruction dollars with about $18 billion in contracts, has seen revenues increase by 80% in the first quarter of 2004 compared with the same quarter of 2003, according to the Financial Times. These revenues reflect "steep profits from their Iraq operations."

Next in line is the Bechtel Group of San Francisco, with nearly $3 billion in Iraq reconstruction contracts. In fact, revenues generated outside the United States have increased by 158% since 2003 for Bechtel - turning around a three-year slump in that category. San Ramon-based ChevronTexaco has a contract to market Iraqi oil. Its profits have increased 90% during the first half of 2004 compared with the same period in 2003, for a total increase of more than $3 billion."

These profits are given an alarming degree of lock-in thanks to policies imposed by the Bush Presidency. There is no incentive, for example, for Bechtel or others to reinvest in Iraq. In other words war had put these enterprises in the the drivers' seat, and they are free to take their profits.

Is Iran next?

The strength of the volume is that it raises fresh ideas, fresh facts and fresh debate about America's changing role in today's uncertain world. The politics of oil are at the forefront of public concern, and so-too are the politics of globalism and employment: and the role of China. In this light, the book is a welcome read with a consistent argument, well argued facts to make it well worthy of serious debate - regardless of your own particular politics.
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fd1a1bc) out of 5 stars Clever, accessible - actually a page-turner! 28 April 2006
By L. Strayhorn - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"The Bush Agenda" by Antonia Juhasz is a very accessible but also rigorously scholarly book. I am fascinated by her clever, subtle wit - you'd think it would be hard to make a subject such as the dastardly story of economic globalization fun, but Juhasz does it. Interspersed with interesting bits of personal memoir (She was there at many historical moments), I have found the book very hard to put down. Her wry style is refreshing and makes for an intriguing, enlightening read.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9007b134) out of 5 stars A Devastating Critique 26 April 2006
By ME - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Antonia Juhasz has articulated one of the most, if not the most, devastating critiques of the Bush Administration and the most recent invasion of Iraq. Where the Left has failed to present a coherent analysis that is easy to understand and grounded in history and anti-war activism, Ms. Juhasz has done just that. Her arguments are easy to comprehend and, most importantly, blistering and passionate. If you are a person that has grown tired of the grinding daily analysis of events in Iraq, buy this book. The focus is on the big picture, something the Bush Administration has quite successfully kept off the agenda.

Also, knowing that Ms. Juhasz is young and will be producing these sorts of critiques in the future is very heartening. She has created an analytical framework that will be useful for years to come. Hopefully she will keep churning out wrecking ball analyses like this one.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9007b2c0) out of 5 stars Very Illuminating! 13 May 2006
By Loyd Eskildson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
At the center of the Bush Agenda is the argument that free trade will bring freedom, peace, and prosperity to the world. Juhasz, however, believes that "free trade" is shorthand for a number of economic policies that expand the rights of multinational corporations and investors to operate in more locations under less regulations. The result is increased inequality both within and between nations.

IMF/World Bank loans have been used to force privatization of utilities, trade liberalization, "user fees" (eg. for health care, education, water, etc.), restricting local government ability to control prices and interest rates, and elimination of agricultural subsidies. The outcome, however, has been less than wonderful.

In 1970, when IMF and World Bank loans began in Zambia, life expectancy was 49.7 years - in '01 it was 33.4 (lowest in the world). In Russia's case, IMF rules led to a 50% reduction in average income within four years, and output decline of over 40% from '92-'98, and poverty rates soared from 2% to almost 50%. Argentina privatized, then saw the value of its currency rise -> uncompetitive exports, mass layoffs, and loss of health coverage.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the U.S. lost 3 million manufacturing jobs during NAFTA; meanwhile cheap, heavily subsidized U.S. agriculture flooded Mexico. NAFTA also stopped guaranteed land rights to indigenous people. Bottom Line: 1.5 million people were forced off their land and out of work, and the average real wages in Mexican manufacturing is now lower than pre-NAFTA.

General Garner was summarily fired in Iraq after disagreeing with many radical Bush administration proposals, such as privatization of Iraq's 192 state-owned companies - he argued that Iraqis should determine their own economic fate. Bremer, his replacement, then ordered all Baath party members holding any position in the top three layers of management in every government ministry and other government institutions (eg. universities and hospitals) removed - about 120,000. (Five months later he allowed case by case reviews.) He then dissolved the Iraqi army and intelligence services, forcing another 500,000 out of work, and into an environment of 50-70% unemployment. (Also antagonized their families - about 2.4 million total.) Bremer next suspended all tariffs, duties, etc. for goods entering or leaving Iraq - devastating local producers (U.S. subsidized wheat and rice producers benefited.) He then went on to stop subsidies, exempted Coalition forces and contractors from Iraqi laws and taxes, replaced Iraq's progressive tax with a flat tax, rewrote its patent, trademark, and copyright laws to ensure access and protections to foreign products, allowed foreign ownership of Iraqi firms and prohibited local preference laws, and allowed unrestricted repatriation of profits out of Iraq. Then U.S. contractors brought in a large number of Americans at much greater cost than hiring locals, further angering them. Finally, Bremer had final approval over all political candidates. And we wonder why they don't like us!

The author's recommendations focus on Iraq - get our army, consultants and contractors out, and cancel their debts.

Excellent material, easily readable.
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