Spoils of War
April 10, 2003 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Spoils of War This op-ed piece in The New York Times (free reg req'd) follows the path of money into who is getting what now that the reconstruction phase is about to begin. Might have called this piece: More than Oil.
posted by Postroad (20 comments total)
Might have called this piece: Just Another Op-Ed.

Why must you do this? Why!??
posted by oissubke at 8:21 AM on April 10, 2003

Class warfare piece.
posted by stbalbach at 8:55 AM on April 10, 2003

As a Paranoid Liberal Conspiracy Freak, I found this article interesting because it's in the New York Times! Only an extremely small minority in this country knows about these connections. Many in that minority dismiss it with the "I'm sure they're trustworthy fellas, those good ol' boys" routine.

The fact that the New York Times is reporting it is absolutely shocking to me.
posted by zekinskia at 9:03 AM on April 10, 2003

Just stick archive.nytimes instead of www.nytimes and you don't have to register..

War can be very profitable indeed. Provided you're not in it.
posted by Mossy at 9:10 AM on April 10, 2003

although it's "just another Op-Ed," there are plenty of facts in there that most Americans don't know (or care?) about.

i didn't know about the recent CPI report. thanks for leading me to look it up.

this info certainly supports the notion that oil isn't the big prize of Iraq (just a nice, fat bonus) -- a massive growth spurt to the entire military industry is. i almost wish it were all about oil, which is kinda like wishing the war would be over as soon as possible.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:49 AM on April 10, 2003

I enjoyed reading the article, and I would never have seen it if it weren't for this post.
posted by moonbiter at 11:53 AM on April 10, 2003

Probably would have gotten a better reception on Warfilter though.
posted by moonbiter at 11:58 AM on April 10, 2003

It's good to see oissubke dismiss this as another op-ed piece, because clearly even the opening paragraph-- Former Secretary of State George Shultz is on the board of directors of the Bechtel Group, the largest contractor in the U.S. and one of the finalists in the competition to land a fat contract to help in the rebuilding of Iraq.-- is full of rhetoric, leftist opinion and should be rightly and promptly dismissed by anyone who disagrees.
posted by xmutex at 12:02 PM on April 10, 2003

true 'bout warfilter, but some of us can only handle one filter at a time.

here's the CPI link. tremendous resource, that CPI.

is there a valid reason that all the Defense Policy Board meetings are kept secret?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:03 PM on April 10, 2003

Class warfare piece.

Yeah, what irony you didn't intend.

Didn't read the piece either, eh?

The problem is all us non-corporate, non-wealthy entities are the ones getting the war declared on us.
posted by nofundy at 12:15 PM on April 10, 2003

Herbert keeps pointing out in the article the "iron web" whereby former military men now work for defense or infrastructure companies. I have to ask, what does Herbert really expect them to do when they retire or leave the service? Take up a role in a musical? Go to medical school? Administer a nursing home?

Yes, perhaps there are real issues here, but is it really all that alarming that people who served the US government for long periods of time tend to work for similar organizations when they leave government service? I mean, they are putting their skills to work where they seem best fit. And is it at all surprising that many of these people, such as former Secretary of State George Schultz, are still offering their advice to the government? This is what they do, this is what they are interested in....should there be a complete ban on former government employees advising the government? If you advise the government, should you not be allowed to have any private sector connections?

What is the issue here? What are potential, workable solutions? It just looks like a lot of whining to me.

And why can't Herbert smile for his file photo?
posted by pjgulliver at 12:16 PM on April 10, 2003

I think it's a very complex issue that is easily lost in the fog of the current war. The issue here is largely a political one: income disparity and how only the very wealthy have access to American democracy and economic opportunities. I agree with Herbert that there is a "Iron Web" of wealthy, well connected white men from good old-money families that exert control over US foreign and domestic policy in order to further enrich themselves. Dick Cheney is one of them, so is W.

Capitalism is the greatest threat to democracy today.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:42 PM on April 10, 2003

Yes it's all true, but the bottom line is also: if you're rich, you can play the game the best. It's only natural that the companies with the most money hire the best people. It's not like there are all these other, better American companies that aren't getting these jobs. So my response to this article is basicaly: duh.
posted by chaz at 12:47 PM on April 10, 2003

"I don't know that Bechtel would particularly benefit from it," he said. "But if there's work that's needed to be done, Bechtel is the type of company that could do it. But nobody looks at it as something you benefit from."
"...nobody looks at it as something you benefit from" Hahahahaha! Thanks for the best laugh of the afternoon.
posted by languagehat at 1:23 PM on April 10, 2003

The governments of France, Germany, and Russia were against the US/UK move against Iraq. I wonder if we'll see any reconstruction contracts going to their corporations? If so, I wonder if the US and UK will first send them a bill for the cost of prosecuting this war? It would only be fair.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:40 PM on April 10, 2003

A bill for their share of the cost, that is...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:42 PM on April 10, 2003

nobody looks at it as something you benefit from

How can you be capitalist and not act in your own
posted by larry_darrell at 1:52 PM on April 10, 2003

Capitalism is the greatest threat to democracy today.

Which capitalism is that? True Free Market capitalism, or the kind practiced in the US?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:53 PM on April 10, 2003

Both, really. Capitalism, when left uncontrolled leads to a disparity of wealth. This disparity leads to the disenfranchisement of the majority and empowers the wealthy minority. It isn't so much an economic problem, though it can lead to economic problems, but a political one.

I'm not advocating the dismantling of capitalism, but instituting more control of the free markets to insure that the population as a whole benefits. Capitalism does many positive things, creating innovation, for example. On the other hand capitalism can lead to abuse of resources and individuals in return for short-term gains.

I believe in what I'll call "small-market capitalism." While economies of scale do lead to greater productivity, they also lead to less competitive business environments where only the wealthy can create wealth. Corporations should be regulated in such a way to avoid monopoly in name and practice. The media is a good example of capitalism going too far and by doing so, restricting democratic freedom. As Americans, we have the freedom of speech, yet that freedom is constricted by the businesses who control the media outlets. Today only a half dozen companies control every news and entertainment outlet in the United States. With such a consolidation of wealth it is nearly impossible to create independent media that could dissent from the mainstream realities projected by the current oligarchy of powerful corporations.

If it wasn't for the internet, there would be no dissent at all. I suspect this is the reason large corporation fear the internet so much and use their political influence to create things like the DMCA and insert clauses in laws to erode the right of privacy for internet users.

I'm being a bit radical on this, and my earlier statement was meant as either a troll or an argument to start some kind of discussion on the issue. I'm not a communist, but someone who believes the US interpretation of capitalism is flawed and needs reviewed. Markets should be open and sustainable, yet I fear the current paradigm achieves neither of those ideas.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:39 PM on April 10, 2003

Elwoodwiles, as always, interesting.
posted by pjgulliver at 2:42 PM on April 10, 2003

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