The Human Tragedy of Militarized Neoliberalism...See Iraq and Haiti

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The idea that only elites matter has led to the U.S. policy of “regime change,” for those that resist neoliberal capital

Alternet - October 10, 2019

"But as U.S.-led occupation armies have discovered in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, and as we can see right now in Iraq and Haiti, ordinary people still insist on having their say about the future of the world we all live in. U.S. policy is largely responsible for the life or death predicaments now facing young people in these countries, so they deserve our solidarity as they rise up to resist."

... U.S. officials of both major parties, from neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz to “humanitarian interventionists” like Madeleine Albright, peddled the simplistic notion that the U.S. war machine could be repurposed to impose neoliberalism by force on dissident countries around the world. Twenty years on, the results of those policies have been universally catastrophic.

Even in the U.S., at the very heart of the neoliberal empire, a new generation raised on the myths of neoliberalism now rejects its absurdities: trickle-down economics; the magic of the market; union-busting; privatized health care and education; the best Congress money can buy; the shrinking middle class; the rampant destruction of the natural world; and so on. As British economist J.M. Keynes reportedly said in the 1930s, “Laissez-faire capitalism is the absurd idea that the worst people, for the worst reasons, will do what is best for all of us.”

But as corrosive as neoliberalism has been to working people in the U.S., it has been far more destructive wherever the U.S. and its allies have tried to impose it by military force.

Afghanistan and Iraq

In Afghanistan, after 18 years of war, [80,000 U.S. bombs](https://www.afcent.af.mil/Portals/82/Documents/Airpower%20summary/(U%29%20Final%20Aug%202019%20APS%20Data.pdf?ver=2019-09-09-030229-530) and missiles dropped in U.S.-led airstrikes, and hundreds of thousands of violent deaths, the Afghan people are so disillusioned with the U.S.-sponsored “democratic system” that only 25 percent turned out to vote in the September presidential elections, a record low. The unending violence and the unbridled corruption of successive U.S.-backed governments have enabled the Taliban to make a comeback and set up a viable shadow government across more and more of the country.

In Iraq, 16 years after the U.S. invasion, a succession of corrupt U.S.-backed governments has boosted oil production to about 4.6 million barrels per day, the second-highest production in OPEC. But in line with U.S. neoliberal orthodoxy, the profits have been pocketed by Iraq’s new U.S.-installed ruling class, not redistributed to provide universal health care, education, housing and other public services as they were under Iraq’s nationalist and Baathist governments between 1958 and 2003, including under Saddam Hussein’s brutal dictatorship.

Iraq was plunged back into full-scale war in 2014, as the alienated population in the north and west of the country fell under the sway of the Islamic State. The U.S. military responded with a campaign of air and artillery bombardment that destroyed most of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and many other towns and cities across Iraq and Syria, killing tens of thousands of civilians in Mosul alone.

The U.S. invasion and the unending waves of violence and chaos it unleashed have destroyed Iraq. The U.S.-imposed neoliberal model has empowered a series of corrupt governments to steal and squander Iraq’s oil wealth, while the rest of the population still struggles to recover from this unending “Made in the U.S.A.” national trauma. Voter turnout in Iraqi elections declined from 80 percent in 2005 to 45 percent in 2018. Now a desperate and angry new generation of Iraqis is taking to the streets to demand a government that will finally share their country’s wealth with its people. ...
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