Naomi Klein

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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

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Shameless in Iraq

Good news out of Baghdad: the Program Management Office, which oversees the $18.4 billion in US reconstruction funds, has finally set a goal it can meet. Sure, electricity is below prewar levels, the streets are rivers of sewage and more Iraqis have been fired than hired. But now the PMO has contracted with British mercenary firm Aegis to protect its employees from "assassination, kidnapping, injury and" — get this — "embarrassment." I don't know whether Aegis will succeed in protecting PMO employees from violent attack, but embarrassment? I'd say mission already accomplished. The people in charge of rebuilding Iraq can't be embarrassed, because, clearly, they have no shame.

On Not Being American

In Baghdad, every encounter we had was a bit like going through customs.
"American?" was the inevitable first question.
"No, no, Canadian," our over-eager reply.
Sometimes our word wasn't good enough and our interrogators wanted proof.
We'd pull out our passports for inspection.

On their faces, you could often see a cloud of rage pass over. Women would sometimes let themselves smile. Kids would stop acting like mini-commandos and run off and play.

Don't get me wrong: Canadians aren't loved in Iraq; we just aren't, so far as I could tell, actively loathed.

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