“We spent as much money as we could”

Weird/ surprising Victorian lit reference of the day: a line from Great Expectations as epitaph for the American reconstruction effort in Iraq:

At the end of his narrative, Mr. Bowen chooses a line from “Great Expectations” by Dickens as the epitaph of the American-led attempt to rebuild Iraq: “We spent as much money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us.”

This is really mind-bending: Pip and Herbert Pocket, living beyond their means at Bernard’s Inn, miserable but pretending they’re having a great time, as an analogy for the American occupation of Iraq.  Pip as a figure for the U.S. in its indebted, improvident ways.  So does this make “the Avenger” (Pip’s personal servant, whom he despises) the Iraqi resistence?  Or, I suppose a better analogy would be to the Iraqi forces working with the Americans.