Sunday, March 21, 2004


Juan Cole:

We know that Bremer is an old-time proponent of laissez-faire economics who wanted to implement a Polish-style shock therapy in the Iraqi economy. If Garner is right, Bremer reversed Garner's plan to hold a national convention in July of 2003 that would elect a sovereign Iraqi government, because the new government might well retain many of the Baath socialist approaches to running the economy. Arab socialism in turn functions as a form of protectionism, keeping out foreign investors.

It is impossible to know if Garner's approach, of a quick turn-over of power to a legitimate Iraqi government, would have pulled the rug out from under the building Sunni Arab insurgency. But there is at least a chance that the Bremer attempt to play General MacArthur-in-Tokyo inflamed anti-imperialist sentiment and made the uprising worse. If so, hundreds of US troops have died and thousands have been wounded so that the Iraqi economy could be wedged open for American corporate investments.