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Sunday, March 23, 2003
As the 'War with Iraq' draws to its foregone conclusion, let's take a brief look at the...


= American Business =

WINNER: Oil-Services Companies

From 'The Wall Street Journal' (Jan. 2003): ""With oil reserves second only to Saudi Arabia's, Iraq would offer the oil industry enormous opportunity should a war topple Saddam Hussein. But the early spoils would probably go to companies needed to keep Iraq's already rundown oil operations running, especially if facilities were further damaged in a war. Oil-services firms such as Halliburton Co., where Vice President Dick Cheney formerly served as chief executive, and Schlumberger Ltd. are seen as favorites for what could be as much as $1.5 billion in contracts."

Further noted by Bob Herbert, in a 'New York Times' Op-Ed piece (Mar. 20, 03): "private companies are lining up to reap the riches of rebuilding the very structures we're in the process of destroying...

Companies like Halliburton , Schlumberger and the Bechtel Group understand this conflict a heck of a lot better than most of the men and women who will fight and die in it, or the armchair patriots who'll be watching on CNN and cheering them on.

It's not unpatriotic to say that there are billions of dollars to be made in Iraq and that the gold rush is already under way. It's simply a matter of fact."

LOSER: American-brand Products in the World Market

From 'The New York Times' (Mar. 17, 03), even before the bombing started, "franchised stores such as McDonald's and KFC have been attacked, threatening to halt a recent surge of investment in franchised businesses, many of them originating in the United States.

At the same time, a growing number of knock-off products have appeared in Europe, imitating popular American brands but appealing to anti-American sentiment in Europe's large Muslim population and among other Europeans opposed to American policy in Iraq."

I guess we won't be seeing a Starbucks in Baghdad any time soon either. But, a boy can still dream, can't he?


WINNER: Cuba & North Korea

The muckity-mucks running Cuba are taking this "opportunity of war" to clean house. The Castro regime is sweeping up all stray dissidents while the rest of the world is preoccupied. While in North Korea, things have been awfully quiet. Suspiciously so. It makes one wonder.

LOSER: United States

Whoever said, "What we need is a good war to bring us all together" didn't know what the hell he was talking about. Thanks to the 'War with Iraq', Americans are more split than ever - politically and socially. I'm just guessing here, but that can't be a good thing.

LOSER: France

According to the 'The Guardian' (Mar. 21 03), "Britain released figures yesterday showing that Paris had exported goods worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Iraq, prompting a government to allege that France was "stretching" the rules of UN sanctions.

In a parliamentary written answer, Patricia Hewitt, the trade and industry secretary, claimed that in the first six months of last year France exported goods worth $212.5m (£135m) to Iraq.

Germany exported goods worth $203.8m. In the same period Britain exported goods worth $27.8m."

No wonder French president Jacques Chirac has been so moody lately. For his country, this war will be bad for business. To make matters worse, now nobody wants to buy champagne either.


After Hussein is toppled, Iraq will be one, big happy United Country. Well, except for those pesky Kurdish groups in the north and the Shi'a dissidents to the south. Oh, and the vengeful Hussein supporters hiding out in Baghdad itself. But other than that, Iraq will be 'Party Central' for all freedom-lovin' people.


WINNER: Pro-War Supporters

If you thought they were voracious BEFORE the war, I'll bet we ain't seen nothing yet. There's nothing like a little killing to get those pro-war creative juices flowing.

LOSER: Anti-War Protestors

Protesting the war AFTER it's started is like going for an AIDS test AFTER being diagnosed HIV-positive. That is, it's a waste of time and, quite frankly, just plain stupid.


WINNER: Osama bin Laden

Osama? Osama who? Hey, we've got a war to get on here, pal! Bin Laden can search for himself right now. We're busy.

LOSER: Saddam Hussein

I guess all those years of living in paranoia - the sleeping in different palaces each night and having aides pre-taste his food in case it was poisoned - have finally paid off.

Now, they really ARE out to get him. But, due to years of "Paranoia Training", Hussein is prepared. As long as they don't bomb the bunker, he'll be okay... Oops. Too late.


WINNER: Propaganda

When U.S. House Administration Committee Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) called a news conference on Wednesday, March 12, to announce the deletion of the word "French" and the substitution of the word "FREEDOM" alongside fries and toast on the menus of House restaurants, I just thought it was another case of American politicians being humorless nut jobs.

But it was part of a larger plan, evidently, which came to fruition a week later with the start of "Operation Iraqi FREEDOM."

This is a classic example of the Propaganda Technique known as 'Transfer':

(quote) "Transfer is a device by which the propagandist carries over the authority, sanction, and prestige of something we respect and revere to something he would have us accept... In the Transfer device, symbols are constantly used. Those symbols stir emotions..." (unquote)

Thus, the word 'French' - which connotates the France-led opposition to a U.S.-led war against Iraq - is struck from the American lexicon. It is replaced by the more patriotic-sounding, "Pro-American" word, 'Freedom'. A symbolic 'freedom', if you will.

Then, the 'War with Iraq' is dubyaed "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to make it more acceptable.

LOSER: Actual Freedom

When a word is co-opted by sloganeering propagandists, it kind of loses its shine. "Freedom is just another word for..." well whatever you want it to mean, apparently. It has nothing left to lose.


WINNER: Network News

Because nothing makes for better high-ratings television than things blowing up real good, the daytime schedule has turned into "War TV."

LOSER: Soap Operas

There's no "love in the afternoon" during wartime.


WINNER: War Blogs

The "war blogs" are in hog heaven these days. Plenty to write about on these web logs. But what's going to happen, say, next week or so, when the war is over?

Will "war blogs" morph into mere "political blogs", carping on silly politicians and government overspending?

Or discuss the so-called "War on Terrorism"? That would be so 'yesterdays news', if you know what I'm saying.

Of course, there are always OTHER "rogue nations" the U.S. can bomb the hell out of.... North Korea. Iran. Possibly even France, if those no good froggies don't shape up.

Yes, 'War Blogs' are a big winner right now but, before too long, they may trade places with the...

LOSER: Other Web Logs

Blogs covering pop culture, personal politics, and the regurgitation of (nonwar-related) news headlines aren't quite as popular with a war on.

But their day will come again.


Last month, this web log announced its "Iraqi War Death Pool". Loosely based on the Celebrity Death Pool contest, readers were invited to pick what day and time the first American combat casualty would occur in Iraq.
Hundreds entered but only one could win. Here's our...

WINNER: "Jeff"

His pick was closest to the actual day/time of the first death. So what fabulous prize does Jeff get? Actually, there are two prizes I'll soon be snail-mailing to him: First, a bag of green-plastic Army Soldiers. Also, I have this big envelope just stuffed full of Anthrax spores, in my freezer, which I've been meaning to mail for, like, forever now. So Jeff can look forward to opening both prizes real soon. Now that I've announced the prizes, I can see the 'National Enquirer' headline already: "Found in Blogger's Freezer: Anthrax... and the body of an Extraterrestrial!"

LOSER: Well, not really a "loser". In fact, not one at all. More like "the guy who lost his life" so Jeff could win:

From 'Fox News' (Mar. 22, 03): "A U.S. Marine was the first to die in action... He was from the U.S. 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said Lt. Col. Neal Peckham, a British military spokesman in Kuwait. He died in the sweep on the Rumeila oil field in southern Iraq, where acrid smoke blackened the sky... President Bush was informed of the death early Friday and expressed his regrets."

So, congratulations, Jeff! And I extend my condolences to the family of the man - and to those of all the soldiers in the coming weeks - killed.


posted by Pete 12:34 PM
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