The "commander-in-chef" whipped up quite a meal back in 2003. As late as March 2006, he was still trying to serve a version of it at a "strategy for victory" event - though he was no longer accompanying it with a dessert of cakewalk ice cream cake.
Now the nation sits at a table with an oil-stained tablecloth, uncleared places, dirty dishes, used silverware and bones strewn everywhere. And if the meal doesn't give us heartburn, the multitrillion-dollar check will.
For those with short memories, here is a handy recipe for Baghdad victory stew. Clip and save:
3 tablespoons, Iraqi extra virgin oil (no olives)
A "sea" of crude oil (and the necessary no-bid contracts to protect it)
Misinformation and disinformation, including Iraqi mushroom (clouds) and 9/11-Saddam (pork) links
130,000 American troops
1 cup, congressional authorization for war
2 sprigs of Iraqi exiles
Embedded reporters (to taste)
Dough for accompanying Iraqi flatbread (original estimate, $50 billion to $60 billion worth; current estimate, a possible $2 trillion)
Flower petals (edible and in season)
In a heavy casserole, heat extra virgin Iraqi oil over a medium flame.
Add disinformation (mushrooms and links) and saut? until brown; repeat process. (Cannot repeat too many times.)
Add sprigs of Iraqi exiles.
Pour in cup of congressional authorization for war. Stir vigorously, as this tends to evaporate.
Pour in sea of crude oil. Raise heat to high. Cover tightly and bring to a boil.
Stir in 130,000 American troops. Grind in embedded reporters. Bring back to a boil.
Cover, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring periodically, for three weeks.
Remove to a platter. Serve piping hot. If possible, hire Shiite waiters to strew edible flower petals atop the stew at the table for dramatic effect.
Don't forget the invitees to the feast:
Kellogg, Brown and Root: The company reported a tasty $2.3 billion profit in 2006, making KBR the biggest corporate winner from the war.
Halliburton: In 2002, it was on a low-cal Pentagon diet with just $500 million in contracts. By 2006, it had porked up on $6.1 billion.
Bechtel: Granted about $3 billion in contracts for work in Iraq between 2003 and 2007, the company bit off more than it could chew, running afoul of investigators for not finishing many of the jobs it started.
Lockheed Martin: The largest recipient of Pentagon contracts, it received a supersize $26.6 billion in 2006.
Frida Berrigan is senior program associate for the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. Tom Engelhardt is the editor of tomdispatch.com, where a longer version of this first appeared.