Thursday, December 28, 2006

George the Bibliophile

George Bush, long noted as an avid reader (hey, his wife is a librarian), has recently finished reading King Leopold's Ghost (We haved to take his word for this but what reason would the President of the United States have to lie?).

Author of said book, Adam Hochschild, has a few questions to put to the Prez.

First, the long effort by King Leopold II of Belgium to bring the Congo under his control was driven by his avid quest for a commodity central to industry and transportation: rubber. Does that remind you of anything? Oil, perhaps?
What's more, the king justified his grab for the Congo's natural resources with much talk about bringing philanthropy and Christianity to darkest Africa. Now what did that remind you of? Democracy to Iraq?
Leopold cleared at least $US1.1 billion ($A1.4 billion) in today's dollars during the 23 years he controlled the Congo, and his business friends made additional huge sums. Much of the money flowed into companies with special royal concession rights to exploit the rain forest.
Final question, for extra credit: Do those companies remind you of anything? If you mentioned Halliburton or DynCorp, you're right again.

Go ahead, read the whole thing.

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