Add another thing to the list of elements the U.S. occupation has in common with Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime– union-busting: that reliable old bulwark of free-market ‘liberal democracy.’

When it comes to trade unions, however, the US occupation authorities have “found a law passed by Hussein that they like”, Bacon said. Passed in 1987, it forbids workers in the state oil industry from organising a union. US officials continue to apply this law.

“To back it up, in June Bremer issued another regulation about `prohibited activity’. Item B under prohibited activities is encouraging anybody to organise any kind of strike or disruption in a factory or any kind of economically important enterprise. The punishment for this is being arrested by the occupation authority and treated as a prisoner of war”, explained Bacon.


Gee, whiz. Talk about encouraging democracy. I guess them there Eye-rackeys can’t be allowed to dissent and resist peacefully. They should only do it violently, because then we can shoot ’em.

Let’s look at this another way: the Bushies are attempting to wrap all the money-making opportunities in Iraq (and let’s face it, the whole Iraqi adventure is just one big money-making opportunity, except for average U.S. taxpayers, U.S. soldiers, and the Iraqi people) and hand-deliver them to their favorite politically connected corporations (like Halliburton and Bechtel). So I reckon it makes sense that they should make sure there aren’t any pesky union entanglements for their greedy friends to have to deal with. That’s why the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein for so long in the first place: when you want your goods and materials delivered at the cheapest possible price, you set up shop in a place where the workers have no rights. When you have the overwhelming cash and military aid to throw around that the U.S. has, you can prop up just about any brutal dictator you want in order to make sure that some little weaker country is a perfect money-making haven for your corporate masters.

The funny thing in Iraq is that the Bush administration, having conveniently backed away from all the pre-war doomsday scenarios, is now claiming that its sole aim is to “democratize” and stabilize Iraq, to make it an example for the rest of the Middle East to follow. Condescending arrogance and hypocrisy aside, the union-busting tactics of Bremer’s brigade are telling…

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