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Monday, December 11, 2006


Iraq: "Desperate" imperialists acknowledge capitalism isn't the answer

Talk about reversing course:
As Iraq descends further into violence and disarray, the Pentagon is turning to a weapon some believe should have been used years ago: jobs.

Members of a small Pentagon task force have gone to the most dangerous areas of Iraq over the past six months to bring life to nearly 200 state-owned factories abandoned by the Coalition Provisional Authority after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Their goal is to employ tens of thousands of Iraqis in coming months, part of a plan to reduce soaring unemployment and lessen the violence that has crippled progress.

Army Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the top U.S. field commander in Iraq, said...the project to open the factories and stimulate local economies is long overdue and was born "of desperation."

The CPA initially hoped private investors would buy or lease the state factories, but that did not happen as security faltered and much of Iraq became inaccessible. As privatization hopes failed, the factories languished; some were in pristine form and others had been looted when the Pentagon task force examined them this fall.
Curiously enough, however, in this major article in the Washington Post, the question of who will actually own these factories is completely unclear (not to mention the question of what right the Coalition Provisional Authority had to abandon 200 state-owned factories in the first place). Since these were state-owned factories, one might assume that it would be the Iraqi state who has the right to re-open them, as well as the obligation to pay the salaries of the people who would be employed therein, but there's an implication (not clearly stated) in the article that it would be the Pentagon who would be paying the salaries and who, one can only assume, would be the implicit or explicit owner of the factory. But, as I said, it's definitely not clear. Of course, whether any of this will ever come to pass is also unclear.

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