Monday, May 05, 2008

Another "surge" in Iraq

Pleased with their success in spinning a failed troop escalation in Iraq as a successful "surge", Pentagon officials will be announcing another such "surge" this week. But as this poorly written press release announcing a news conference at the National Press Club makes clear, this time the military's press shop will be heralding Iraq's apparently vibrant economy:
Iraq's Economic Surge
Iraqi Minister of Industry, Fawzi Hariri and U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Business Transformation and Director of the Task Force for Business and StabilityOperations, Paul Brinkley will announce and discuss a number of new contracts for private industry for business development in Iraq.

They will discuss the economic environment in Iraq and the positive impact that the recent and growing economic surge is having in Iraq and need to economic opportunity as it relates to long term security [sic]. They will outline the ongoing economic surge and business opportunities being developed in Iraq.
Of course, like tales of underreported "progress", this isn't the first time the "surge" in Iraq's economy has cited by the U.S. government. From a State Department press release in March 2007:
Washington -- An “economic surge” is accompanying the ongoing U.S. troop surge in Iraq, and the country could see results from this increased activity within a few months, a senior U.S. diplomat said March 9 in Baghdad.

“My focus is on now, and on what's going to happen in this period of surge, not only military surge, but also economic surge over the next four to six months,” Ambassador Timothy Carney, coordinator for economic transition in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters in a two-way teleconference.

Results from this increased economic activity should become apparent “within a relatively short time – I’m talking about a few months,” Carney said.
So what is there to make of the U.S. government's boast of "increased economic activity" and a rebounding economy? Certainly the war has been good for makers of coffins and body bags, but it would be hard to find any major industries that have benefited from the invasion. When it comes down to it, to what can supporters of the war point when discussing Iraq's surging fortunes? Oh:
BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraq on Monday signed two deals worth US$5 billion (€3.23 billion) to buy 40 planes from Boeing and 10 planes from Canada's Bombardier to upgrade Iraqi Airways' aging fleet.

The deals were signed by Finance Minister Bayan Jabr in a ceremony attended by Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as well as U.S., British and Canadian diplomats.


Al-Maliki said the government was working to improve the country and called for investments in Iraq.

"Today, the process of developing economy has started," al-Maliki said in a speech during the ceremony.
Boeing, the Seattle-based defense contractor, saw first quarter profits rise 38% this year. While peaceful, productive enterprises will always be harmed by military conflict, war is certainly good for those with the right political connections.

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