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33 Halliburton in Hell
32 Mr. Fabulous Chicken Fricassee
31 Little Dictators
30 The 2002 B-TOY Awards
29 My Fitness Goals
28 A Streetcar Named Darlene
27 Operation Enduring Irritation
26 Au Revoir
25 Jeanette MacDonald Among the Ruins
24 I, Flannel-Mouthed Shave Tail
23 The Center of the Universe
22 Some Ketchup with That?
21 That Loathsome Guild
20 Honey-Sweet
19 Buff-Daddy Bookseller
18 Dr. Seuss, Heretic
17 A Smart Bomb Sampler
16 Bin Laden, Bushranger
15 Puppet Nature
14 Character Determines Fate
13 Fundamentally Changed
12 The Smell of Rodent in the Morning
11 Planet of the Bobos
10 Poor William Rehnquist
9 What Michael Pollan Learned From His Alien Abductors
8 We Are in the End Times
7 The Incurable Disease of Writing
6 Halitosis of the Mind
5 My Mommy Fetish
4 Sherlock Holmes Was No Fancy Boy
3 Joyce Carol Oates Scares Me
2 Global Warming is Getting on My Nerves
1 I. Don't. Like. Dave. Eggers

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Bibliolatry: opinions from a very
No. 33: 

Halliburton in Hell

Featured Titles

Editors' note:
The day Carlisle influences foreign policy is the day we emigrate to Canada. If you are looking for informed opinions about what could or should happen in postwar Iraq, we suggest one (or more) of the following:

After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy
After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy
by Noah Feldman

"Is Islamic democracy possible? If so, can and should America help bring it about? In this impressive debut, Noah Feldman shows with crystal clarity that the answer to both questions is yes. Rich in political history, cultural analysis, religious understanding, and comparative law, After Jihad is the first book I have read since September 11 that gives me hope that there may be light at the end of the war against terrorism." Harold Hongju Koh, Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith

(New - Hardcover)
check for other copies

The Reckoning: Iraq and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein
The Reckoning: Iraq and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein
by Sandra Mackey

"Mackey's warning is clear and chilling: As dangerous as Iraq is with Hussein in control, it will be a far more volatile force once he is gone." Los Angeles Times

(New - Trade Paper)
check for other copies

The New Iraq: Rebuilding the Country for Its People, the Middle East and the World
The New Iraq: Rebuilding the Country for Its People, the Middle East and the World
by Joseph Braude

"A superb guide for the rebirth of the great civilization of Iraq by one who knows the country, its history, and its culture intimately. It's all here: how to resuscitate the judicial system, the army, the economy, even the cinema. Lucid, balanced, and wise." R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence

(New - Hardcover)
check for other copies

Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm
Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm
by Dilip Hiro

"A scrupulous and discerning vest-pocket contemporary history of Iraq from a writer with a well-earned reputation for evenhandedness....Under Hiro's steady and searching light, no political interest emerges from Iraq's recent history without blood on its hands or egg on its face, while, it seems, interest in the Iraqi people has fallen off the radar." Kirkus Reviews

(New - Trade Paper)
check for other copies

How to Build a New Iraq After Saddam
How to Build a New Iraq after Saddam
by Patrick Clawson

Whether changing the regime in Iraq is a worthwhile U.S. policy objective depends in no small part on what occurs in the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's departure. This timely volume explores the most urgent challenges for policymakers.

(New - Trade Paper)
check for other copies

The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military
The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military
by Dana Priest

"Anyone trying to understand the interplay between US military and foreign policy must read The Mission." Jody Williams, Nobel Laureate for Peace, 1997

(New - Hardcover)
check for other copies

Why Do People Hate America?
Why Do People Hate America?
by Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies

"The authors do a good job...in establishing Americans' ignorance of the effects of their foreign policy, the double standards American politicians apply to other countries...and the unwillingness of Americans to recognize the destruction of other countries' economies and biodiversity in the interest of a fast American buck." Houston Chronicle

(New - Trade Paper)
check for other copies

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Oow. That was quick. Three weeks after the first bomb was dropped, and we're already toppling statues in Baghdad. Unfortunately, as everyone knew going into this thing, making war is the easy part. Once we've finished erasing the last vestiges of Saddam's regime, we'll have to start making the peace. And the postwar political battles could be far bloodier than anything seen so far.

The problem is that, George Bush excepted, no one knows for sure what we're up to in Iraq. The administration insists that once the war is over, America will help the Iraqi people both rebuild their country and establish the government of their choice — period. Once that is done, we'll leave. Critics of the administration, though, insist they're lying, and that conquering Iraq is really the first step in a secret plan to take over the world.

Bush may dismiss these naysayers with a Rumsfeldian shrug, but it's obvious he would like the world to begin taking him at his word as soon as possible. Until the Iraqis have their democracy and the last American soldier is back in Cleveland sparking at the soda fountain, how do we know he'll follow through? The truth is, it could take years before America regains the world's confidence.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to. I have a foolproof idea that will convince even the most hardened conspiracy theorist that America has no intention to occupy Iraq any longer than necessary. It's really quite simple. All we have to do is put the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Development in charge of the reconstruction.

As anyone who's experienced "the bureau" will realize, after a few months of working "with" the City of Portland all those American contractors currently clamoring for a piece of the pie will be singing a different
tune: "I don't care how much oil they've got, once this contract is up, I'm getting the hell out of here."

But for those of you without direct experience, here is a hypothetical interaction (extrapolated from typical events) between the CPBP and D and the first American company into Iraq, Halliburton.

÷ ÷ ÷

The current CEO of Halliburton, David J. Lesar, enters the Portland City Planning office with his U.S. contract in hand and a smile on his face.

LESAR: Hello. I'm here to pick up a permit to put out oil fires in Iraq.

ANONYMOUS DESK CLERK #1: Yurmph phal seeze.

LESAR: What's that?

ADC #1: Excuse me. Mouth full. I need to see your plans, please.

LESAR: Our plans? Oh, well, I didn't know we needed to show you anything. After all, the government awarded us the contract to put out oil well fires on the strength of our plans. It's been in all the papers.

ADC #1: I'm sorry, but we can't issue you a permit until your plans have been approved through our office.

LESAR: Okay, so what do you need?

ADC #1: Just follow the guidelines in form 1278B: Ninety-nine Steps to a Killer Oil Well Extinguishing Plan.

LESAR: Ninety-nine steps? Well, okay. I'll have my men get right on it, and see you in the morning.


two weeks later...

LESAR: Hello, I'm here to submit plans for an Oil Well Extinguishing permit. Hell, I had no idea a permit application would be so complicated. But here you are.

ADC #2: Thank you. NEXT!

LESAR: Wait a minute. I had ten men working full time for two weeks on this application. And we need this permit as soon as possible. Can't you at least give me an idea how long it will take?

ADC #2: We'll notify you when your plans have been approved by all thirty departments in the planning bureau.

LESAR: Thirty departments? But that could take days!

ADC #2: Days? Applications are currently taking about six weeks.

LESAR: You've got to be kidding? We need to put those fires out as soon as possible. It's a matter of national importance.

ADC #2: Then you really should get us your plans as soon as possible.

LESAR: Isn't there anything we can do to speed up the process?

ADC #2: Sorry, all applications are processed in the order in which they were received. But if at any time you want to know how things are going, feel free to check the progress of your application on our website: www.dontholdyourbreath.gov.

six weeks later...

LESAR: Hello, I put in a permit application six weeks ago, and I was checking back to see if it was ready yet. Here's my account number...

ADC #3: [click, clack, click, clack] It says here that Engineering has put a hold on your application.

LESAR: What for?

ADC #3: Apparently, on your plans the nozzles on your water hoses are fourteen inches long, but according to code they can be no longer than twelve inches.

LESAR: What? We adjusted our plans to meet the specification given in the literature that you gave me. In fact, I got it from this pamphlet right here... See? Page four: fourteen inches.

ADC #3: Oh, those pamphlets are two years old. They don't reflect current standards.

LESAR: Then why are you still handing them out?

ADC #3: The new ones haven't been printed yet. In the meantime, you'll need to correct your plans and resubmit them.

six weeks later...

LESAR: I've been following the progress of our permit application on your website. And I've been very patient, so far, even though it's taken at least twice as long as you said. On Thursday, I was very happy to see that you were almost finished: 29 of 30 departments had signed off on the plans. But now, for some reason, I can no longer log on to your website.

ADC #4: What's your account number? [click, clack, click, clack] I'm sorry, but that number is not in our system.

LESAR: What do you mean, "not in our system?"

ADC #4: I think it's pretty clear. That account number doesn't exist.

LESAR: Well, of course it exists. I've been tracking my application's progress on your website for weeks.

ADC #4: I don't find it.

LESAR: There must be some mistake. I have documentation from your office right here with my application number on it.

ADC #4: Well, I'll be damned. There it is in black and white. So I'd bet dollars to donuts that something happened to your file, ‘cause it's not there now. Speaking of donuts, would you like one?

LESAR: Would I what?

ADC #4: Would you like a donut. We always have donuts on Mondays. And you seem like you could use one.

LESAR: I don't need a frickin' donut, I need a permit...

ADC #4: I just thought... they're jelly-filled.

LESAR: ...and if you've lost my application, you'd better bloody well find it, and fast. The whole world is watching.

ADC #4: Sir, you'll have to excuse me for a moment.

two hours later...

ADC #4: Boy, was that a marathon. Am I ready for lunch or what?

LESAR: I don't care about your lunch. Did you find out what happened to our permit?

ADC #4: Yes, I did. And it's a good one. A real doozy. You'll laugh when you hear it. Apparently, your application made it all the way to Environmental Protection, which is the final department in our approval process. But the head of the department had some concerns about the environmental costs of this project. Apparently the oil wells in question are burning out of control and causing greater levels of pollution than the code allows.

LESAR: Well, of course they are. That's the whole point. We want to get in there so that we can put the fires out.

ADC #4: Well, you'd better hurry. Apparently those oil wells are creating a big mess. Anyway, get this. The head of the Environmental Protection department went to place your application on hold so he could review the code, but he accidentally hit "delete" instead of "hold" and you got bumped out of the system.

LESAR: You can't be serious. Good thing I was paying attention. So now that we've got that cleared up, how quickly can you move forward with our application?

ADC #4: What application?

LESAR: What do you mean, "what application?"

ADC #4: Halliburton does not currently have any pending permit applications.

LESAR: Of course not. You lost the file. Now, you'll just have to find it.

ADC #4: I'm sorry, but our computer system can't undelete a file. It no longer exists. But I promise that once you've resubmitted your application, I'll put it right back in queue.

LESAR: Resub... wait a minute! You made the mistake, not me. So you'll have to fix it.

ADC #4: Good one, sir. But don't worry, you'll have your permit in no time. Applications are currently taking only about eight weeks.

LESAR: Eight weeks! But our plans were already approved by all... and last time you said six... Do you realize that I am a close personal friend of Dick Cheney, the Vice President of the United States? Maybe you'd like to tell him yourself why Halliburton has yet to step foot in Iraq. Would you like that?

ADC #4: Sir, I've got a nice plate of brownies here. You look like you could use one. Go ahead, take your pick.

÷ ÷ ÷

Who knows, after America has left Iraq to the Iraqis, the Bush administration may even set its sights closer to home — and liberate Portland. We can always dream.

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