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things are getting scary. Two stories of note:

Guardian: US plans military rule and occupation of Iraq.

The US has plans to establish an American-led military administration in Iraq, similar to the postwar occupation of Germany and Japan, which could last for several years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, it emerged yesterday.

The occupation of the country would need an estimated 75,000 troops, at an annual cost of up to $16bn, and would almost certainly include British and other allied soldiers. It would be run by a senior American officer, perhaps General Tommy Franks, who would lead the assault on Iraq, and whose role would be modelled on that of General Douglas MacArthur in postwar Japan. ….

The Iraqi project, outlined by Mr Bush’s senior adviser on the Middle East, Zalmay Khalilzad, would involve running the entire country until a democratic Iraqi government was deemed ready.

New Yorker:

The vision laid out in the Bush document is a vision of what used to be called, when we believed it to be the Soviet ambition, world domination. It’s a vision of a world in which it is American policy to prevent the emergence of any rival power, whatever it stands for — a world policed and controlled by American military might.

This goes much further than the notion of America as the policeman of the world. It’s the notion of America as both the policeman and the legislator of the world, and it’s where the Bush vision goes seriously, even chillingly, wrong. A police force had better be embedded in and guided by a structure of law and consent. There’s a name for the kind of regime in which the cops rule, answering only to themselves. It’s called a police state.

Worth quoting this snippet too:

For example, as a way of enhancing “national security,” it promises to press “other countries” to adopt “lower marginal tax rates” and “pro-growth legal and regulatory policies” — your doctor’s names for tax cuts for the rich and environmental laxity. And it exalts economic relationships as more fundamental than political and social ones (a mental habit that orthodox conservative ideologues share with their orthodox Marxist counterparts), as in this passage praising free trade as a “moral principle”: “If you can make something that others value, you should be able to sell it to them. If others make something that you value, you should be able to buy it. This is real freedom, the freedom for a person — or a nation — to make a living.” (As distinct, presumably, from the secondary, not quite real freedoms of thought, conscience, and expression.)

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