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Why Your Gas is Tinged Red

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On March 20th the war and occupation in Iraq will have continued for five long years. Fortunately in January of 2009 the President who lied to bring it to us will be out of office. Unfortunately we will be paying in blood and treasure for the Bush-Cheney misadventures long after George W. is back in Crawford cutting brush and Cheney has found his next quail hunting partner.  The war was founded on lies that were well known as such in 2003, no matter what Hillary says now.  We can’t just blame Republicans, most Democrats lacked the moral courage to say no in the national atmosphere of fear that was created after 9/11.Since that august beginning where we were supposed to be greeted “with flowers as liberators”  we have managed to shock and awe the Iraqi’s with a war that has  caused an estimated 654,956 (2006 Lancet Survey) to 1,220,580 (2007 Opinion Research Business Survey) violent Iraqi deaths.  We have caused four million people (20%) of the population to be uprooted from their homes including two million who have left the country. Almost all of the professional class has left.  They are unwanted in the surrounding countries where they push down the already meager wages of the working class. So many Iraqi women and girls have had to prostitute themselves to stay alive in Syria, it has now developed a sex tourism business for Saudi Arabian men.  Shock and awe was intended not only to destroy the Iraqi’s will to resist military takeover but an economic takeover as well.   We destroyed as much of the infrastructure as we could in order to set up a new economic order.  That order became obvious when we carefully guarded the Ministry of Oil while allowing the looting of some of the oldest human history in the world and sat by while vast ammo dumps lay unsecured.Young Republicans with no experience were brought in under Proconsul Paul Bremer after Jay Garner proved to conciliatory and cooperative with Iraqi concerns.  He further endured us to the Iraqis by firing about a million people, half of which were in the military and sent them home with their guns, and without a means to earn a living.  Bremer issued dictates to a compliant Coalition Provisional Government stacked with Iraqi exiles who accompanied the Americans invasion, some of who were responsible for the bogus information used to justify it.  Bremer issued orders that allowed American multinationals to fully exploit the Iraqi economy including allowing them to take their profits out of the country tax free.  The  in their 20’s with no experience were sent to take charge where they handed out shrink wrapped cash, in one case by the pallet, to American contractors. Shortly thereafter resistance to the occupation took off.  After the Coalition Provisional Authority turned over power to the Iraqi government, John Negroponte was appointed Ambassador. Negroponte was the Ambassador to Honduras managing the illegal and clandestine funding and training of death squads in Nicaragua and El Salvador.  His response to the escalating violence was reported to focus on the “Salvador Solution”.  Shortly after that sectarian violence between religious groups became the norm.  Disregarding protests from some of the leading combat generals in the military that 500,000 troops would be needed to occupy the country, the Rumsfeld decided that contracted mercenaries from around the world, labor from Bangladesh, American contractors and surrogate Iraqi’s should be able to do the job.  The war escalated out of control until the “surge”.  In the mean time we have had over 4,000 young men and women killed and over 60,000 wounded, almost broken our military, expended over $500 Billion to pay for it, fed terror recruiters around the world, undermined Israel and Turkey’s security, damaged our international reputation and influence and still managed to quadruple the price of oil since 2002.At home it served to cow a fearful public into standing by while torture, imprisonment without trial or end, rendition all became acceptable.  They convinced many that wiping out habeas corpus, posse comitatus, privacy rights, and search and seizure rights and in general trashing the constitution were just things we needed to do to keep you safe. The surge was what was supposed to fix all that.  Well it did lower violence but it didn’t fix the political problem of resource distribution. What has kept this going for so long is fairly simple, the unwillingness of the Iraqi nationalist groups to turn over for a song, oil reserves that the U.S. and British companies want.  The American line is that they just can’t get along; there fore we need to stay until they can. Like John McCain said, maybe 100 years.  The truth is that while American surrogates are in leadership positions, the majority of the Iraqi legislature is not willing to turn their country over to American businesses and so they have a standoff.  In the meantime reconstruction activity has completely halted leaving the average Iraqi worse off for utilities, work, food, healthcare and safety then they were under Saddam Hussein.The only people who want to be there are the multinational oil companies and those like Haliburton and Blackwater who are looking to earn a quick buck.  The vast majority of the American people want the troops out, 78% of the Iraqi’s want us out in a year. While 94% of Iraqis had rejected al-Qaeda, 68% thought it would be alright to shoot American troops.  Most Iraqi’s feel security would improve as it did in Basra when the British left and violence decreased by 90%.The military people who have died in Iraq haven’t died for nothing, the Iraqi men, women and children haven’t died for nothing, they died for your SUV to have fuel. And us being a loyal and patriotic people, think the Iraqi’s need to understand how determined we can be, we’re not leaving without our oil.
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John Kelley is the Managing Editor of a monthly progressive newsmagazine, "We the People News", in Corpus Christi, Texas
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