Cullen Murphy's 2007 book entitled 'The New Rome - The fall of an empire and the fate of America' includes some challenging observations about the behaviour of Americans in the Iraqi Green Zone after the US-led invasion in 2003.
"Bureaucrats and civilian experts representing scores of government agencies, oblivious to culture or history, were brought in to create an embryonic version of American government for the Iraqis to adopt as their own. Americans were enlisted to help draft a new constitution. They drew up scores of new American-inspired laws to address even the least urgent matters, such as patents and copyrights and other kinds of intellectual property. They created shadow ministries of agriculture, education, electricity, human rights, oil, trade, youth and sports, and more. Monday night seminars were held to teach prominent Iraqis the basics of a free-market economy..."
One department, Murphy writes, sought to impose a 15% flat tax - "this in a nation where taxes had neither been levied nor paid."...
Cullen Murphy gives other examples of what is portrayed as a disrespectful subjugation of the Iraqi people. He warns about the phenomenon of 'blowback' that was likely to arise years hence from the American attempt to "create a preconceived template on an evolving reality".
I wonder whether the Iraqi people will want to maintain the pretense of participation in this western-imposed experiment. Or will America's empire fracture into autonomous regions and fall like that of the ancient Roman version - as "an imaginative experiment that got a little out of hand". [*]
* Walter Goffart quote.