Today, Vice President Cheney appeared on The Paul Gallow Show in Mississippi. During the interview, he and the host lamented the media’s alleged bias in its Iraq coverage, suggesting that they should cover more good news — such as the Disneyland-style amusement park being developed for Baghdad:
GALLOW: You know, I look at this, and every once in a while, we’ll see a story, Mr. Vice President, things like an amusement park opens in Iraq or in Baghdad, which is totally counter to what we’re hearing over here, as far as the marketplaces being open, the schools, and things such as that. But I saw a story several weeks ago about an amusement center maybe over there, and I’m thinking this is not what you get in today’s media.
CHENEY: No, that’s true. It’s — what gets covered obviously is bad news. That’s — you know, if everything is going swimmingly, then that’s not news, so it doesn’t get the kind of attention.
Cheney and Gallow must be living in Never Never Land. This amusement park is not good news. The Pentagon is fast-tracking the development of 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.” The firm designing the project also developed Disneyland. The financier, Llewellyn Werner, has admitted that he is doing the project not to help Iraq, but because he wants to make boatloads of money:
After explaining skate…boarding, Werner tells the assembled Iraqi business and government men, “I’m a businessman. I’m not here because I think you’re nice people. I think there’s money to be made here.”
More significantly, the Pentagon is also now backing a $5 billion plan to create a “zone of influence” around the new $700 million U.S. embassy. The area will include luxury hotels, a shopping center, and condos in an effort to “transform” the Green Zone into a “centerpiece for Baghdad’s future.”
In Iraq, however, many people are opposed to the plan. Some U.S. embassy officials have called the plan “unrealistic.” One added that Iraqis, a majority of whom oppose the U.S. presence, are unlikely to want the U.S. to “turn this area into downtown Kansas City.”
Former Pentagon policy planner Sam Brannen has a better idea for the Green Zone: “abando[n] the Green Zone and donat[e] the monstrous embassy just completed” to the Iraqi people.
Wayne A. Schneider Says: “Actually, that brings up a good point about this whole, very-American Disneyland-style “theme park”: How many hours a day will it be open due to the electricity and clean water shortages? And if the park has electricity and clean water all day every day, won’t the Iraqis who em>don’t have electricity and clean water all day start to feel resentful?
The theme park won’t be much of an attraction if it doesn’t have electricity and clean water; and if it has electricity and clean water and the Iraqi people don’t, it won’t be very attractive to them.”