The following article you are about to read is true. I researched and wrote it for AlterNet, and it is real.
It is costly, and it will cost much more than money once all is said and done. It is what Americans have left to give when nothing is left to give.
Disneyraq: The Unhappiest Place on Earth
“I’m a businessman. I’m not here because I think you’re nice people. I think there’s money to be made,” explained Llewellyn Werner in his pitch for a vast recreational complex to be built in, of all places, Baghdad. “I also have this wonderful sense that we’re doing the right thing — we’re going to employ thousands of Iraqis. But mostly everything here is for profit.”
It has come to this. We’re not even pretending anymore. As the years, memories and excuses have fallen away like dead skin, America’s invasion of Iraq has revealed itself for what it truly is: a consumerist pipe dream. The Great American Mall of the Middle East. Disneyland in the desert.
And since we’re already giving away billions in duffel bags, why not throw another billion or two down the money pit? Where there’s funding, there is fire. And in the case of the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience (BZEE), there may also be firefights. If you can ignore the bullets, IEDs, power outages and, well, the entire occupation, you might just have yourself a good time.
“In Southern California, there’s drive-bys and everything else,” reasoned Ride and Show Engineering Executive Vice President John March, whose company has been contracted to develop the site, which is adjacent to the Green Zone and fast-tracked by the Pentagon. “So there’s danger everywhere. I think the key thing is this will be tremendous for Baghdad,” he explained to Fox News chatterhead Bill Hemmer.
If by “tremendous” he means a huge target, then March, who refused to participate in this article, is dead right. It is also financially tremendous for C3, the hedge fund holding company that Werner oversees: Already given a green light from the Pentagon and an endorsement from Gen. David Petraeus, Werner secured a 50-year lease on what used to be acreage containing Baghdad’s looted and left-for-dead zoo for “an undisclosed sum,” according to the UK’s Times Online. He is quickly building everything from a skate park, museum, concert arena and rides to future diversions. So far, Werner has collared $500 million from his elusive investors, who are practically impossible to find (a rarity in the Internet age) and secured joint partnerships across Iraq for a variety of projects. The million-dollar skate park is scheduled to open this month, and further hotel and housing developments will follow, especially since Werner has exclusive rights to them.
And although they may be managed by Iraqis, their profits belong to America. Just like most of country’s oil reserves… MORE