Friday, June 27, 2008

Vegas By The Tigress?

I strongly suspect this is a hoax posted on YouTube but a self-described “foreign policy advisor” to the McCain campaign was purportedly interviewed last February on television in Baghdad about plans for a Las Vegas-style five star hotel and casino smack dab in the middle of the Green Zone in Baghdad.

He promises a “trickle down” effect of wealthy gamblers' losses helping Iraq's poor. He promises Iraqi women jobs as maids. He promises Thai and Russian masseuses. He reduces Iraqis to being like Native Americans on reservations. The Green Zone is a stone's throw away from Sadrist-dominated Sadr City. Why does he think religious Shiites would put up with all this? The Iraqi housekeepers will be viewed as violating norms of gender segregation. The other activities would attract sanctions under the Sharia. In fact, that wonderful Iraqi constitution that the US Republican Party was so enthusiastic about forbids Parliament to pass any law contrary to Islamic canon law.

Since gambling is forbidden in the Qur'an, it is unlikely that the Iraqi parliament can legalize it.The 'foreign policy adviser's' comments are particularly tasteless in light of the actual conditions under which most Iraqi’s live: No electricity, unreliable water, extreme poverty, most households having lost at least one family member to either American violence or religious death squads.

But if McCain does plan to turn Iraq into sort of a giant Las Vegas By The Tigress, that would at least explain his odd desire to be there for a hundred years.

And although the YouTube video may be a hoax, Mother Jones reports that Llewellyn Werner, chairman of C3, a Los Angeles-based holding company for private equity firms, is pouring millions of dollars into developing the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience, a massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum. It is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland.

Just what Baghdad needs: A casino next door to a theme park “experience."

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