The Blundering Shoes of Rebuilding


"We spent as much money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us."

~ Charles Dickens: Great Expectations as reprinted in "Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience"

Oh man! I missed out on the spectacle of the year. So grand was it I would have paid money… yes money… to see it. At a surprise press conference in Iraq a Liberated Iraqi Patriot threw not one but two shoes at George W. Bush’s head! Talk about ungrateful.

Sadly, both missed. I might have asked for a refund. But what can you expect from a country where soccer is the number one sport? I mean… the poor guy just doesn’t have the expertise at throwing projectiles like Eric Gagne or Fran Tarkenton. Still, I give him an A for effort. But I also wonder if George gave him back his shoes. They might be his only pair.

The other sad thing is that Dubya seemed to enjoy the whole incident. Well, maybe that’s not so sad. I can personally relate to the joys of having Weapons of Minor Destruction hurled in anger at my face. Maybe Bush is a good old-fashioned punk rocker too.

The Shrub seemed to be thrilled by the display as evidence of a "free society." You know a free society where you can give visiting dignitaries the one-fingered victory salute and scream obscenities at political party conventions. At such fun events one only needs fear being pummeled by hired goon squads or hauled off in the paddy wagon for… and I shudder at the thought… being a "journalist" like Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! Forgive me while I take a moment to wash my mouth out with alcohol (Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard Ale) for being a bad boy and uttering the J-word.

Yup, Bush should be pleased. Mission accomplished. Iraq is freer than the United States. All thanks to him. So… I guess we can go home now. Uh… well… maybe the troops and contractors don’t want to. After all, they have more freedom in Nisoor Square than Times Square.

Aside from reveling in the lighthearted incident George made the comment: "I don’t know what the guy’s cause is." That’s our anointed Shrubbery, delusional to the last. No clue George? I’m so relieved the past eight years have taught Dubya nothing.

The Big W supposed the shoe thrower was trying to draw attention to himself. Yeah… well, maybe. But do you imagine he might also be angry at the total destruction of Iraqi society and the deaths of something like 1.2 million Iraqis? Hm… at that rate, it’s a good safe bet the shoe thrower knows at least a couple dead friends or family members, thanks to George’s Liberation and gift of freedom. Or possibly, the anger is subtler than that. Maybe Abdul bin Hushpupi only lost his job and neighborhood.

Gee George… you think there might be one or two Iraqis with good cause to be angry with… you? Naw, that’s too preposterous to even contemplate.

Well, sorry to be preposterous but the fact is, Iraq is a mess and the US is to blame. And you George are at the top of the refuse heap of reconstruction and liberation.

As easy as it is to dodge a flying Birkenstock it’s just as easy to dodge reality. Forget about the dead, displaced, the ethnic cleansing, destroyed infrastructure and all that tedious old news. How about something fresh and exciting to ignore?

Here’s a good one. The new 512-page report on the history of Iraqi "reconstruction," prepared by the feds themselves and floating around in secure channels… and the New York Times. As reported by the NY Times: "u2018Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience,’ the new history was compiled by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, led by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., a Republican lawyer who regularly travels to Iraq and has a staff of engineers and auditors based here."

And what goodies lurk between the pages of Hard Lessons? Nothing "good" I assure you. It simply chronicles officially what anybody paying attention already knows. The US has been flushing billions of greenbacks down the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in a war profiteering orgy of incompetence and corruption.

Also reported in the NY Times: "Money for many of the local construction projects still under way is divided up by a spoils system controlled by neighborhood politicians and tribal chiefs. u2018Our district council chairman has become the Tony Soprano of Rasheed, in terms of controlling resources,’ said an American Embassy official working in a dangerous Baghdad neighborhood. u2018You will use my contractor or the work will not get done.’ "

Gee, what a surprising revelation.

The fact is, in wasting $117 billion the Wizards in Washington never had a clue what they were doing… and still don’t. Hey, build one open sewer of a Baghdad Police Academy why not build another?

Strange how reconstruction projects are usually total disasters isn’t it? You would think of all nations familiar with this principle it would be the United States. Oh… but our disastrous Reconstruction was so long ago, who cares… or is left alive to remember?