If you break it
Home Commentary Articles Links

If You Break It

    It is reported that Colin Powell said to George Bush about Iraq, “If you break it, you own it.”   What meanings lie in that statement?

    The simplest level is that if you break something, you have responsibility for it.  You have the obligation to repair or to compensate.

    But does injury imply ownership?  If you break someone’s cookie in half, does it becomes yours?  If you smash someone’s car window, do you now own the car?  If you rape someone’s daughter, is she now yours?  If that is the interpretation, then breaking something is very tempting because by doing so you gain possession of it. 

    That appears to be the position now taken by the U.S. government.  After having invaded Iraq over a year ago and broken the government and infrastructure of that country, they now claim full control over the disposition of the pieces and the formation of a new government.  They will not really give control to the UN which might show some independence.  They will not just compensate the owners for the damages and leave.  But instead the U.S. claims the entire country and all its contents to dispose of as they like.  In fact they have and continue to give away pieces of Iraq to favored US corporations.

    This is not a altruistic endeavor, but something quite different.  The Iraqis and most of the world see it that way, why can not we?

 David E. White, 4/27/04


The love of liberty is the love of others. The love of power is the love of ourselves. -- William Hazlitt
Send comments to:  webmaster@gilbertwhite.com
( This page was last updated on:  04/27/2004 )