Marshall Law in Iraq

Because of increased episodes of violence in Iraq, the new Iraqi government, in conjunction with its American counterpart, has brought Marshall Law to Iraq. Marshall Law, Marshall Law III, actually, has been dispatched as President Bush’s new envoy, replacing Paul Bremer, who has become the head waiter at Le Circe 2000 in anticipation of its closing, a continuation of his career path. Mr. Law, a graduate of Yale (what else?) will assume his duties immediately and will continue to function in Iraq after the arrival of Ambassador John Negroponte to head the seventeen thousand person delegation assigned to the new American embassy in Baghdad. The embassy, under construction by Bechtel, will be larger than the Pentagon. Halliburton will provide food services.

Judith Miller conducted Mr. Law’s interview with a new Iraqi newspaper, the Baghdad Times, edited by Howell Raines, who finally found a job after being fired by the parent company of the Baghdad Times, the New York Times.

Ms. Miller. Was your presence in Iraq inevitable?

Marshall Law: Not really. It took a lot of work to make this possible.

Ms. Miller: Such as?

Marshall Law: First, you had to alienate the entire population. That took some doing. But we had Paul Wolfowitz come over here first to get it going. Now the new poll, conducted by the Coalition itself, shows that America and Americans are not only distrusted but also detested. The average Iraqi says he would be safer if all foreign troops packed up and left.

Ms. Miller: Is it fair to say, then that Marshall Law has been imposed on Iraq.

Marshall Law: Everyone is saying that. It’s a nice little joke, but the fact is someone has to put his foot down and restore order.

Ms. Miller: But isn’t this kind of policy in direct contrast to the stated goal of creating democracy in Iraq so it could be a model for other Arab countries?

Marshall Law: Not really. How many people remember that this all started with Jeanne Kirkpatrick, when she wrote that there was a difference between authoritarian and totalitarian regimes? We could impose authoritarian regimes as a temporary measure, even if that meant it lasted for half a century, so a totalitarian regime, that is, one not favorable to the United States, could not come to power.

Ms. Miller: Are you saying that the democracy is going to have to wait in Iraq until it looks as if all opposition to America is crushed?

Marshall Law: That’s about it. Call a spade a spade, I always say. Once we have crushed all dissent, then maybe these jerks will be ready to consider governing themselves, at least as acceptable puppets. If they elect a government hostile to us, we’re just going to have to come in and overthrow it. What else is new?

Ms. Miller: I gather that there are terrorists at work in Iraq now, some of whom have ties to Al Queda.

Marshall Law: That’s true. They weren’t here before, but they are here now. So I have become an absolute necessity. What we are going to have to do is suspend the constitution before it is even written. Look, without order you simply can’t have self-government.

Ms. Miller: Let’s be honest. This is sounding more and more like Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Marshall Law: Well, in case you have forgotten, our guys at CIA hired Saddam Hussein and trained him to be an assassin to bump off Kassim the Commie. He messed up and made that famous swim to escape. Then our guys sat by (well, we gave a little nudge here and there) while he knocked off all his enemies and took power. Only then did the CIA find out that his role model was Joseph Stalin. You have to hand it to the Agency. It got the Batistas to flee Cuba so Castro could come down from the mountains and the sugar crop would get harvested. No one believed he was a Communist. He was some romantic figure who could be bought off like all the phony dictators of Latin America, at least that’s what they thought. Now, he acknowledges that his role model has always been Adolph Hitler. But stuff like this gives people like me a chance to have a career cleaning up the mess we made ourselves. It goes on forever. Hey, Osama bin Laden was one of our guys in Afghanistan, Bill Casey’s boy. What a mistake! We’ll be paying for that one for decades.

Ms. Miller: Lets cut to the chase. Was the war a mistake?

Marshall Law: What’s the point of living in the past? And who will ever really know? What we know now is that we are there and there is no getting out. Wolfowitz has just said our troops will be there "as long as necessary." You know as well as I do that this means they will be there until the next century.

Ms. Miller: Let me plead mea culpa and ask if you think the media played a role in all of this.

Marshall Law: Well, I think it’s fair to say that the stupidity had been spread around pretty equally. You believed all the nonsense and reported it because you wanted to believe it. That’s what is means to be part of the GARC, the Great American Ruling Class. The GARC doesn’t think; it just reacts. It’s a great amorphous mass of idiocy with almost total power. It’s like you puffed up Johnny Apple until he was as big as the moon, as though he were not big enough as it is. Then, you would have it, more or less. Ask the GARC to have a thought and it will sit there and pontificate without saying anything concrete. It has no ideas and cannot recognize facts. It huffs and puffs like Lyndon Johnson, or grins at your benignly like Ronald Reagan. And when the GARC has totally messed up in the outposts of the empire, it imposes me, Marshall Law. It’s Pinochet all over again.

Ms Miller: Would things get better with John Kerry?

Marshall Law: That turkey IS the GARC. Are you kidding? I’ll have lots of work with him.

Ms. Miller: Is there no hope, then?

Marshall Law: It all depends on who is getting paid. For Marshall Law, there is lots of hope. Otherwise to paraphrase Kafka, hope is infinite but not for you.

Richard Cummings [send him mail] taught international law at the Haile Selassie I University and before that, was Attorney-Advisor with the Office of General Counsel of the Near East South Asia region of U.S.A.I.D, where he was responsible for the legal work pertaining to the aid program in Israel, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the author of a new novel, The Immortalists, as well as The Pied Piper — Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream, and the comedy, Soccer Moms From Hell. He holds a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He is writing a new book, The Road To Baghdad — The Money Trail Behind The War In Iraq. He is a contribution editor for The American Conservative.