Lieutenant General Peter W Chiarelli, the top US field commander in Iraq, explained that “we need to put the angry young men to work …. A relatively small decrease in unemployment would have a very serious effect on the level of sectarian killing going on.” He couldn’t help adding, “I find it unbelievable after four years that we haven’t come to that realisation …To me, it’s huge. It’s as important as just about any other part of the campaign plan.”
Do these about-turns signal the death of disaster capitalism? Hardly. By the time US officials came to the realisation that they didn’t need to rebuild a shiny new country from scratch, that it was more important to provide Iraqis with jobs and for their industry to share in the billions raised for reconstruction, the money that would have financed such an undertaking had already been spent.