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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Part of how the U.S. is making things happen in Iraq is to go along with, indeed to fund, the Mafia-style method of governance. It's easier than, er, governing...

    At least in the short term, an old-fashioned Chicago-style machine, dispensing patronage in return for favors, is a more viable model than one man, one vote...

    Lt. Col. Hector Mirabile of the First Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, the Florida National Guard ... described just what that entails: first handshakes, then tea, then 10 minutes of pleasantries. "And from there you talk business. Contracts are our No. 1 method of control." Mirabile hands out lucrative contracts to rebuild schools or provide other community services (with a tidy profit, up to 20 percent, built in for the sheik). But if violence breaks out—like the mortar attack that occurred just the day before—"I'll be calling on the sheik and asking, 'Why did that happen?' " says Mirabile. "If they can't deliver, we'll reduce their contracts. If he doesn't help, we'll go to him and say, 'Your area is not really safe yet—people can't work here.' And he'll say, 'S—t, this is affecting the bottom line'."

    - A War in the Dark [msnbc.com] (Newsweek)

    Libertarians should be ecstatic; they have always said that the Mafia is a great example of an alternative to the evil nasty government.

    • Libertarians should be ecstatic; they have always said that the Mafia is a great example of an alternative to the evil nasty government.

      Well, I do think this is a nice short-term solution ... sorta like U.S. Democracy: it is the worst possible system, except for all the others? :-)