Neocon Bedfellows - One of the criticisms libertarians make of "nation building" is a simple observation: if "we" can build an economy over there, why can't we do it right here?

Different people make different conclusions from that. A libertarian knows that we have tried to do it here - and it didn't work. Central planning doesn't work; thus the Iraq occupation is doomed to failure. At least, it's doomed to the degree which they are relying on being able to manage the economy.

On the other hand, socialists take a different conclusion: we can do it there, thus we can do it here. Here's one example: Barbara Ehrenreich lauds the neoconservative fascination with socialism - in Iraq:
almost no one has noticed an even stranger development within the Bush administration– its sudden, and apparently wholehearted, embrace of socialism.

Echoing sentiments expressed in an earlier era by Eugene V. Debs and Woody Guthrie, Colin Powell declared recently, "Iraq's oil belongs to the Iraqi people." There's been no comment yet from Exxon Mobil on the possible application of this principle to the homeland, but Powell's words seemed sincere – unlike those other feel-good phrases the right is always tossing off, like "compassionate conservatism" and "free elections."

In fact, the conservative press is filled with ideas for how to distribute the wealth to the people and keep it out of the hands of "Iraqi elites."

In addition to spreading the oil wealth around, the Bush administration has committed itself to generous public services – though only, so far, in Iraq. Schools will be repaired, damaged infrastructure rebuilt and education made available even to the poorest. There will be quality health care for all. Imagine: A universal health program, of the kind that has eluded Americans for at least half a century, will be created with a snap of the imperial fingers in Iraq.
The removal of Saddam really was a chance to reform Iraq. But the reform that would work - minimal government, minimal democracy, decentralization, strong property rights - is not likely to happen, coming from a bunch of socialists.

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