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General News    H2'ed 6/19/11

U.S. Conference of Mayors May Vote Monday Against Wars

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Not that the White House will listen, but the U.S. Conference of Mayors tomorrow(Monday, June 20th) may actually conclude its proceedings in Baltimore with an historic vote affirming a resolution to spend at home the $125-billion now being lavished annually on the Middle East wars. "That we would build bridges in Baghdad and Kandahar and not Baltimore and Kansas City, absolutely boggles the mind," the AP quotes Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles as saying.

The Conference, which speaks for 1,200 mayors, expresses the pain felt by city officials as urgent domestic needs have been long scuttled so that America's imperial presidents can wage wars in the Middle East to control the region's oil. President Obama is no exception as he vastly expanded the war in Pakistan and began fighting two other wars in Yemen and Libya illegally without Congressional authorization.

(By the way, if the Iraq war was not about the threat of Saddam Hussein's WMD, what was it about? The answer may be found in a New York Times report of July 3, 2008, which described the deal between Hunt Oil of Dallas and Kurdistan's regional government in September, 2007, over the infuriated protests of Iraq central government officials in Baghdad.

Hunt's chief executive officer, The Times noted, is Ray Hunt, a close political ally of Bush, and who "briefed an advisory board to Bush on his contacts with Kurdish officials before the deal was signed." Another big winner, of course, was Bush Vice President Dick Cheney's Halliburton, which landed lucrative no-bid contracts in Iraq over the objections of Army Corps of Engineers officials and others. Etc., etc., etc. In short, the nation was mobilized to waste three trillion dollars for war and pay the terrible price of 5,000 U.S. dead and 30,000 wounded to enrich defense and oil sector corporations. No matter that some 1 million Iraqis were killed, probably at least as many wounded, and two million made refugees and the country left in ruins.

Can it be just coincidental that the first oil contract signed in conquered Iraq enriched Bush's close friend? Or that Halliburton, formerly headed by Bush's Vice President, reaped no-bid contracts worth billions?)

Better late than never, but where was the protest of the U.S. Conference of Mayors ten years ago when the predatory hawks turned their threats into hot wars and began destroying Baghdad and Basra? Only now, after their own cities have been driven to the brink of ruin (and some, like Camden, N.J., over it) do they politely lash out at Federal spending for war. If Washington had not cut back on aid to the cities would they be taking this vote? Where were they when the Secretary-General of the United Nations called the Iraq invasion illegal? Do they object now because the loss of Federal funds diverted to war played a big role in forcing local governments to lay off 446,000 jobs since Sept., 2008?

On June 18 th , The New York Times reporter Michael Cooper ticked off a litany of municipal woes that included:

#Providence, R.I., and Hollywood, Fla., just issued layoff notices to police officers.

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Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)
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