Next deadly campaign in Iraq: American food
The US military may have ended its war on Iraq, but US pizza is just getting started. In the most promising indicator that Iraqis are ready to end their chapter of violence and conflict, Baghdad residents have embraced the kind of high-calorie, artery-busting fatty fast food that Americans have shoved into their gaping pieholes for decades. As the leader of a local private equity firm opening new restaurants says, "Iraq is a virgin market."
The restaurants serving this food have created some delightful new names to market the previously unknown levels of gluttony that Iraqis can now enjoy while they slowly destroy their health. The AP reports:
"We're fed up with traditional food," said government employee Osama al-Ani as he munched on pizza at one of the packed new restaurants last week. "We want to try something different."
The traditional Arabic restaurants long popular here now find themselves competing against foreign-sounding rivals such as Mr. Potato, Pizza Boat, and Burger Friends.
And my favorite Baghdad restaurant, which demonstrates the durability and ingenuity of American branding: Florida Fried Chicken.
A doctor at a Baghdad hospital warns of the downside of the fast food craze, probably after watching the Americans occupying his country stuff their faces with crap for the last 10 years: "The opening of these American-style restaurants ... will make Iraqis, especially children, fatter."
Welcome to the first world, Iraq! Manufacturers of hypertension medication and elastic-waist pants share your enthusiasm for Western culture.