Just listened to Christian Parenti from The Nation Magazine debating with Karl Zinsmeister of American Enterprise Magazine about whether things are getting better or worse in Iraq. (Go to to listen to it.) In his attempts to make Iraq sound like most of it is functioning smoothly and quietly, he kept turning to examples of businesses doing well.

Bush in the Rose Garden with his counterpart, unelected Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, on 23 Sept 2004:
"On television sets around the world, we see acts of violence -- yet, in most of Iraq, children are about to go back to school, parents are going back to work and new businesses are being opened. Over 100 companies are now listed on the Iraqi stock exchange. And an average of five new companies are joining each week. Electricity has been restored above pre-war levels. Telephone service has increased dramatically. More than 2,000 schools have been renovated and millions of new textbooks have been distributed." [Emphasis added.]

Funny how they don't mention numbers of people getting fed, number of people homeless, the basics of food, shelter & clothing. Even the thing about phone service is kinda middle class. You can get by without a phone, as impossible as it might be for spoiled Americans to imagine. Zinsmeister actually talked about Iraqis taking vacations in the northern part of the country lately. What percent of homes in Iraq have Xbox? Could you possibly get further away from the things that matter to average people? Hell, I was 15 or 16 before my parents went on vacation outside of the state of Michigan. How many people across the world can afford to take vacations, and what kind of idiotic indicator is that about the development of Iraq?

Ugh. Anyhow, forget the travel thing, and just notice how many apologists for the invasion use statistics about business in Iraq as the main indicator that the country's doing fine. Once again, the people who matter are people who own buildings, factories, swaths of land. Other people don't count. As long as factory owners in Iraq prosper, that's all they notice.


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