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Washington’s Imperial Socialism

Critics have castigated the Bush administration’s nation-building venture in Iraq as a manifestation of U.S. imperialism.  That is an apt description of the Iraq mission, as well as the ongoing missions in Bosnia and Kosovo.  America’s nation-building bureaucrats are not pursuing just any kind of imperialism, however: It is a distinctly left-of-center variety.  As the mission in Iraq shows, an ostensibly conservative U.S. administration is helping to install a system of politically correct welfare-state socialism.

Under the guidance of Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the hand-picked Iraqi Governing Council is busy building a state structure that bears little resemblance to the ideas American conservatives advocate at home.  In a country of barely 25 million people, Iraqi ministries plan to have nearly 1,048,000 employees on the payroll this year.  Overall government spending is similarly outsized.  The Governing Council projects spending to hit $13.4 billion this year, $19.2 billion in 2005, and $19.7 billion in 2006.  Yet Iraq’s entire gross domestic product is estimated at about $25 billion.  Those spending levels would create a staggering burden on the Iraqi economy were it not for the anticipated U.S. reconstruction aid funds (a little over $18 billion this year).  Still, that aid flow will not go on forever (at least one hopes not). ...

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