Stateside

Like flies to honey

Republican lobbyists and their corporate clients are looking at postwar Iraq with dollar signs in their eyes, The Washington Post reports.

“Getting the rights to distribute Procter & Gamble products would be a gold mine,” said one [lobbyist] who did not want to be named. [I wonder why.] “One well-stocked 7-Eleven could knock out 30 Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart could take over the country,” he said.

I guess you could say capitalism is war by other means.

I’m not advocating that US and other foreign companies be kept out of Iraq. But I’d like to suggest that the interests of the Iraqi people– for instance, the owners and employees of those 30 stores– may not always coincide with the interests of well-connected American corporations.

“It’s like a huge pot of honey that’s attracting a lot of flies,” said Republican Senator John McCain, sounding rather annoyed about the flies and reminding me once again why I wish he had defeated George W. Bush in the 2000 South Carolina primary.

One of the leading GOP lobbying outfits is New Bridge Strategies, which includes Joe M. Allbaugh, President Bush’s 2000 campaign manager, and Ed Rogers and Lanny Griffith, two top political aides to Bush’s father.

Meanwhile the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and its US affiliate, the AFL-CIO, are making the case for promoting trade unionism and protecting labor rights in the new Iraq. I hope they get as much attention from the Bush administration as Mr. Allbaugh and company do.

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