- Hardcover: 387 pages
- Publisher: ReganBooks (May 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060846879
- ISBN-13: 978-0060846879
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,305,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time Hardcover – May 2006
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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.
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.
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.
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.