Amazing. Conquer a country and then select the loyal and the willing, the politically correct, often the youth with no experience, to run the country, flick off with scorn anyone with real knowledge or skills relevant to the country, — then set up your new ruling body in a sealed off area that is a little america, where once a year they have a cultural evening of entertainment to show what the culture is like on the outside — that’s how Rajiv Chandrasekaran discovered the US has misruled Iraq from the “green zone” in Baghdad! He discussed his experiences in “Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Baghdad’s Green Zone” (2007). Haven’t read it, but listened to a lengthy interview with him on Late Night Live last night.
Among the highlights:
A young man less than a year out of college with no experience in the stock market was put in charge of getting Iraq’s stock exchange up and running again. Result: he had it shut down for a year despite many locals willing and able to get it going immediately.
At the time of massive unemployment Bremer’s first task as he saw it was not to create jobs but to sit down and re-write the TAX laws.
Americans are so fearful of being poisoned that they import all their food into the Green Zone from outside Iraq. This includes pork and ham which of course is offensive to local Muslim workers in that zone.
Many employees in the Green Zone demonstrate not the slightest interest in life or the country outside concrete walls of the Green Zone.
But one thing not in the book, the comment on the recent bombing inside the Iraqi parliament — now that could well be a turninng point, as the bombing of the Shia mosque was that triggered the sectarian war. Without the most basic security able to be given the (supposed) rulers . . . .
And despite all the hype at the time on how hard it would have been to get past the security to blow themselves up, Rajiv explained it was not difficult at all. The only places where one goes through endless security checks is the entries to American areas. The parliament was being guarded by Iraqis with minimal checks.