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Iraq for Sale - Another Referendum Against Republican Control

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I had the opportunity to catch this new documentary this week. Like "Fahrenheit 911" and "An Inconvenient Truth", this is another film that every American should see. It's an expose' on the egregious and gratuitous privatization of America's effort in Iraq, collating the hypocrisy, fraud, waste, corruption, & mismanagement under the Bush Military-Industrial-Complex ... er... Administration.

What I COULD talk about...

There has been plenty written about this documentary already, so I'm not going to simply give a review. Arianna Huffington's blog has a particularly good synopsis. My readers know that when it comes to a particular issue/scandal/story, I like to attack a specific angle.
  • I could talk about how the private contractors in Iraq are earning far greater wages and living far more lavishly than our own troops. This is a microcosm proving the relationship between accountability and benefits in the Bush Administration is inversely proportionate.
  • I could talk about Halliburton's KBR subsidiary grossly overcharging for their services, coupled with their failure to provide them sufficiently (some of these accounts are astonishing).
  • I could talk about the animosity built up by the Iraqi people because the jobs and contracts are going to American companies instead of Iraq companies, leaving them with unemployment rates in the 30's. Gee... what's an out-of-work Iraqi to do?
  • I could talk about the conflict-of-interest in Dick Cheney's Halliburton (yes, he's still receiving compensation) and the fact that Halliburton received no-bid, multi-billion dollar contracts. Why let pesky competition get in the way of free enterprise?

But I don't want to talk about those... heh, heh, heh

And now for MY angle

Quite frankly, the war profiteering in Iraq is not news. It's been going on since the conquest started in March of 2003. Nothing is new. Nothing has changed. And those of us who HAVE been paying attention were not surprised by this film's content. Those of us who have been paying attention know that this same profiteering is also going on in the Gulf coast following Hurricane Katrina. Those of us who have been paying attention know that this same profiteering has been going on from the moment George W. Bush stepped into the White House and handed the keys over to the big business interests by deregulating every industry, nominating lobbyists from the industries to positions of oversight of those industries, and de-funding the teeth out of governmental protection agencies.

What I really wanted to call attention to is the fact that it's the rubber-stamp, Republican-controlled Congress which has allowed the Bush Administration to get away with all of this. Not only have they completely backed Bush in almost every dirty, sleazy, slimy, power-grabbing move he's made (except privatizing Social Security, of course), but they've also thwarted every effort the Democrats have attempted to add oversight to the process.

This is the two minutes of "Iraq for Sale" that bothered me the most - footage of Democrats raising amendments to the war appropriations bill to investigate the profiteering & oversee the contract bidding process, and they were shot down by the Republican majority, largely along party lines. SIX YEARS - NO ACCOUNTABILITY. This is the message that really needs to get out.

My soapbox moment

Ladies & gentlemen, this is the reason to vote Democratic on November 7th. This is the best reason to shift Congress over to the Democratic Party: to restore checks-&-balances in our government. The first six years of this Bush Administration have been unchecked and unbalanced. There has been NO legislative oversight and there is so much evidence and reason to believe that our world is so much more damaged under the Bush Administration and Republican control.

We live in fear. We live in fear from terrorists. Terrorists - both foreign and domestic. Terrorists - both Muslim and American. Terrorists - both Middle Eastern and Washingtonian. After falling asleep at the wheel and allowing 9/11 to happen, the Bush Administration has gone on a campaign to alienate our allies, escalate the arms race, and deteriorate the very fabric of our democracy - the freedoms, liberties, & rights afforded to us by our Constitution & Bill of Rights. And through it all, the rubber-stamp Republican-controlled Congress has allowed it to happen, because of the lack of balance in our government.

Our only chance to fix this problem is on November 7th. Otherwise, it's two more years of the same.

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Scott Shuster is a progressive columnist, publishing since May of 2005. His liberal ideology is a refreshing diversion from 'politics as usual' in Washington.
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