Sunday, February 10, 2008

Iraq: Operation Corporate Takeover - A Review Part 2/2

Continued from yesterday

The story so far… Lee and Jim liked the book as a well executed comic book. How will they like it with the added political message? For discussion purposes, Lee played the role of government sympathizer. Let’s join the conversation already in progress…

Jim: The downside to the book is that the message got a little heavy handed at times. The obvious issue being conveyed is how large corporations are stealing money at the expense of people. But there were parts about the Israel and Palestine situation that were forced into this book. I thought by trying to talk about another situation that is near and dear to either the writer’s heart or the War on Want organization took away from the story of what is happening in Iraq. The segment in the book where Nazem is contacted by the War on Want was also a little too forced. All of this could have been left to the back matter section where the War on Want was able to convey their message and political leanings.
Lee: I have to agree. As straight up propaganda it's pretty good but there were points when I felt like I was being beaten over the head with the message. It wasn’t subtle that’s for sure. But, to be fair, I don’t think it tried to be. It is a big, emotional issue and as an organization, War on Want wants people to read and understand. I don’t think you can take a chance on readers missing the point because it was too subtle.

Jim: As a message I think it is an important one. The US government has been slowly selling out to corporate interests for years. Under the 20 year reign of Bush/Clinton/Bush the US government has been sold to corporate interests. The multi-national corporations have no national interest, they are soulless entities driven by one goal and the goal is profit. That set-up leads to group think in the board room, where no individual ever has to take personal responsibilities for their actions and therefore any end that generates higher profits becomes justified. Also the book points out that this is not unique to just American corporate interests.
Lee: Really? I am surprised you feel that strongly. I understand what you are getting at but the heavy handed nature detracted from the message for me. In fact, I tended to disagree with most of the message. It reminded me of the Teen Titans "Say no to drugs" comic book giveaway's of the mid 80’s? This book, is that book 20 yrs later.

Jim: See that is where we disagree, (although the Titan book was amusing to me when it come out) I definitely agreed with most of the message. I'm against the War and have been forever. Also Bush is not a conservative in my mind and his selling out to corporate world is what we have been doing for awhile.
Lee: WOW! You really believe all the drivel in that book? I am very surprised. Let me clarify my stance. Did Bush sell out? Yes. Was it done to protect American interests? Yes. And that needs to be done from time to time. That said…
Was the war mismanaged? Most definitely.
Was the reconstruction mismanaged? Maybe, maybe not. What people fail to discuss is what condition was it already in, or what was done once the Americans arrived.
Was it done on purpose to screw the average Iraqi? I don't believe so.

Jim: Was it done on purpose to screw the average Iraqi? Anyone who had any money left the country once the War was seen to not be ending. So upper and upper middle class (what ever existed) has left the country. So the average Iraqi was screwed no matter what. On purpose is a hard question.

I believe Bush gave a lot to his buddies and I believe corporations will screw anyone for money.

What I thought was drivel was the whole simplistic portrayal of the issues. The shoehorning of the Israel / Palenstein problem, the endless propaganda in the back of the book (which I could not read) and the idea that Caterpillar is somehow responsible for what their equipment is used for.
Lee: How can you say corporations will screw anyone for money but not hold Caterpillar accountable? That makes no sense. In defense of the large conglomerate, there are very few, if any, that could act as a single point to handle many of these issues. There are savings to be had by going with a single company and single invoice. It doesn’t always make sense to outsiders such as ourselves and we aren’t privy to the contracting decision basis.

Jim: One final caveat, I do not know who is behind “War on Want” as I’m leery of both sides in these arguments. Still having said that, enough of what is in this book is public record and if the abuses we know about have come to surface, I can only imagine the nightmare of what it is we do not see.
Lee: The problem I had was the information was conveyed in such an incredibly heavy handed manner that I didn't believe it anymore than I believe Pentagon reports of “It sunny and happy in Iraq.” And, many of the tales do ring true because of recent revelations. But, I am just as concerned that well meaning organizations are being fed garbage to win the minds of the masses.

If nothing else the book got us talking and I'm sure it would generate some conversation in your world too.

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