The socialism of war

Randall McElroy weighs in on the difficulties of reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

Socialism has never worked anywhere, but the allegedly pro-market architects of the Iraq debacle apparently aren't aware. In an especially revealing article, the Washington Post reports that an Iraqi cement factory damaged in the bombing got back online with $250,000, despite the plans of the Army Corps of Engineers for a $23 million reconstruction.

The formerly state-run factory is not at full capacity, but is producing more than it was a year ago (before the bombing began). In a country with no trees and few resources other than oil, which was recently bombed no less, cement is in critically short supply. They don't have a year to wait. And they don't need so much time either. The home-grown reconstruction of the factory took only three months.

This is a microcosm of the whole Reconstruction: the invading forces have grand plans of wholesale transformation -- with an $87 billion+ price tag, while the Iraqis, the people who actually live there, just want to do what works, and not in a generation, but now. The invading forces have a central authority to dispense money and licenses, but what's needed more than that is initiative, which they don't have and can't give. That comes from the Iraqi people themselves, who have demonstrated again and again that they have it. All the occupying authority does is to hold them back, as financial manager Ae'ed Abduljabbar Shawmary says:

There are so many able hands free yet you will still find many burned and destroyed buildings waiting for reconstruction. Why? It is the bureaucracy.

The interventionists responsible have betrayed their collectivist foundations again. Under the guise of efficiency they have brought only waste and delay. While claiming to bring liberty to Iraq they have brought socialism instead. Will they never learn?

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I live in country called

I live in country called Canada.You don't need to explain the gross inefficiency of government to me, or any of the 15 other capitalists who live here because we enjoy the physical space it inhabits.

I have to admit that back

I have to admit that back when I supported the idae of invading Iraq, I never spent any time wondering about the aftermath, in terms of the US taking the right approach towards economic reforms. Makes me feel like a jackass when the inevitable articles like this pop up. I should have known better.

It's certainly true that the

It's certainly true that the average citizen was not thinking about the aftermath. The Vietnam comparisons were easy to dismiss, because surely we had learned our lesson after having hundreds of soldiers come back in body bags. (And now, while there are still casualties, there are indeed far fewer than in the 1960s.) But now our workforce isn't being robbed directly; our bank accounts are. That's harder to notice because it happens so much anyway. Perhaps a modern-day R?pke can enlighten Iraq's reconstruction and let them accomplish an "economic miracle."

I have to admit that back

I have to admit that back when I supported the idae of invading Iraq, I never spent any time wondering about the aftermath, in terms of the US taking the right approach towards economic reforms. Makes me feel like a jackass when the inevitable articles like this pop up. I should have known better.

It's certainly true that the same kind of problems with managed markets are bound to happen with military intervention and reconstruction, and it is also true that there is a substantial negative effect on Americans due to the cost of the War and the accompanying loss in civil liberties, and it is also true that there were many civilian casualties associated with the bombing, and it is probably true that the US presence in Iraq is fostering new terrorists, but keep in mind that there are also 125 Iraqi civilians not dying at the hands of Saddam every day. That body count is rising daily. I realize that this is not the reason Bush made the War, but any sort of consequential analysis of the War's effect on Iraqis has to take this fact into account.

A tyrant is no longer in power. That is always a good thing.

I only wish he had been on the receiving end of a bullet between the eyes.

I posted a relatively simple

I posted a relatively simple idea for Iraq's reconstruction over at my blog on the 25th. It's called "Searching for a Solution." I'm not going to claim (like politicians might) that it's perfect, but it wouldn't require a generation to rebuild the country, and more than a handful of (large) groups would benefit from it.