Monday, April 14, 2003

Profiteering for Iraq

Among the themes of this weekend's antiwar protests was the call against "war profiteering," which the protesters define as any contract where a U.S. corporation agrees to rebuild-and-provide services for the new Iraqi administration. This, the protesters claim, is yet more evidence of American imperialism and the wretched excesses of capitalism.

But what exactly is the alternative? After all, the corporations are presumably hired because they have expertise and resources to accomplish various tasks, such as setting up a telecommunications network. Would the protesters prefer we leave the Iraqis without such a network, or that we hire some group that's not the best for the job? I suspect the reply would be "we should let the United Nations do it." But the UN is not a business, and it has no expertise in actually building infrastructure. At least not building one efficiently. The UN, like most of its member governments, is a parasitic entity that drains wealth generated by individuals and businesses. Having the UN lead the Iraqi rebuilding would simply make it more expensive and less efficient. But, hey, if preventing corporate profits is more important to you than helping rebuild Iraq, you're certainly entitled to that viewpoint...

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