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The story goes that Warren Buffet, rather worried about his investments early 2008, wanted to talk to God… God told him to use his phone and he’d send him the bill… He got and paid the $333 million dollar charge. His investments flourished, too… That would be the end of the story, except he was down in Sussex County recently, following up first hand on a corporate case being processed out of Georgetown… once again, he asked God for the right to call, and agreed to accept the charges… When he got his bill, he was fuming… He was only charged 25 cents… “God”, he said, “you ripped me off on that first call, big time!”… God said, “Warren, don’t you get it? In Sussex County, that’s a local call…”

Local call or not, Sussex County is weighing in on whether to say a prayer before County meetings or to not… Here are a few takes on that policy: one, two, three, four……

As someone who grew up where prayers were always said before football games and county meetings, it isn’t a big deal…… That is, as long as everyone agrees it isn’t a big deal. You don’t see prayers before meetings conducted in New York.

Not because New Yorkers are heathens, but because in New York, you have a multiplicity of religions, so praying a prayer from one of them, is a slap in the face for all others…

Why it’s even an issue in Sussex County is because the Positive Growth Alliance, has been building condo’s like ants, and lots of people who did not grow up in Sussex County, now live there. Many have different ideas of religion than those who’ve always been there all their lives…

If everyone believe in the same version of God as does David Anderson, then of course, duh, why are we even arguing about it… Of course we’re going to pray to God to guide us through this meeting.. That’s what He’s for!

Suddenly, thanks to Rich Collins and the Positive Growth Alliance, we have tons of people who do object to having David Anderson’s version of God, one who dislikes Homosexuals, and one who casts pox on Democrats, one who believes married people should have sex only when they have children, one who believes sex between animals is immoral, one who believes taxes are caused by the devil, one who believes that nature was made to bulldoze and pave with a combination of petroleum and gravel. … one who believes that oil companies have the divine right to pollute oceans, one who believes that animals were made for us to kill. … one who believes a national religious holiday should fall on the first day of deer season.. one who believes pick up trucks and baseball caps are proof that homosexuality is a sin,… on who believes killing someone with a gun is not a sin, but taking that gun away for the safety of others is…

(yes, I’m having fun and talking tongue in cheek)…

The point I’m making is that Sussex County is changing; and it is changing mostly thanks to Rich Collins and the Positive Growth Alliance.

Can you make new citizens join the current religion? If so, then by all means, just like the days of old, they will see no qualms in having a tiny prayer before the meeting.

But if they don’t want to join that religion, then, to force one group of religious people to impose their prayers on others, is not American…In fact, it’s kinda creepy…

If in an effort to show fairness, the Sussex County decided they would do prayers from all religions in alphabetical order, when they came to “B” and hit Buddahism, giving an Buddahist prayer before the session, most of those in the audience would be saying WTF! This is our nation, why do we have to listen to such crap…

Which is… exactly what those Buddahists think, who have opened a business in Millsboro, and have come before the county to ask for a variance on something or other that is in their antiqued code….

So… If it is unnatural for a Baptist to suffer a Buddahist prayer, it is equally unnatural for a Buddahist to sit through a Baptist prayer…

It’s not about one religion being right and the other wrong. It’s about who the citizens are that make up Sussex County. If you want to blame anyone over this controversy, the blame solely lies with those who built up Sussex County and brought in all these new people to begin with… Now that they are here, we have to make Sussex County as fair to them as New York, is fair to us, when we take our business up there……

Positive Growth, huh? Depends on your version of positive I guess………….

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“At an address ….. he reported that, (the enemy was) “unable to mount a major offensive…I am absolutely certain that whereas …… the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing…We have reached an important point when the end becomes to come into view.”

I’m sorry…..My bad…..I seem to have erred. That was Westmoreland speaking Novermber 21, 1967, two months before the Tet Offensive began.

I believe it was General Bruce Palmer, one of Westmoreland’s three Field Force commanders, who, at the same time, claimed that “the Viet Cong has been defeated” and that “He can’t get food and he can’t recruit. He has been forced to change his strategy from trying to control the people on the coast to trying to survive in the mountains.”

On January 30th, roughly 84,000 Viet Cong simultaneously attacked American bases everywhere across Vietnam. Despite suffering serious casualties,and losing every battle, they were able to cause Americans at home, to wonder if we were fighting under false pretexts.

Let us hope Iraq does not suffer the same fate…………despite the similar optimistic platitudes being spoken by those in bed with the national military industrial complex.

WTF?photo by SUCHAT PEDERSON, News Journal

Americans are not stupid, in fact they are some of the most clever people on earth.

Most historians would say that the 20th Century, was probably very different from every other century that  occurred before it. The difference is due to American influence. We  approach things differently, for some reason.

I remember one major oil rig fire in the North Sea. A call went out to the world’s best fou fighters to come out and quench the blaze. One by one they failed. Due to our heavy handed foreign policyat the time, America was snubbed until all other options had run out. After three weeks of nightly television footage showing the same burning oil rig, Red Adair, the American specialist, was finally called in. As one European commented to me personally, “We Europeans tried everything, and nothing worked. The Americans come, and in twenty minutes, its over………..

Today, as I was shopping, I looked at the tag of a shirt I was about to buy. It came from Vietnam. I wondered if a son or daughter spawned from someone I knew, had made that very article of clothing. Here they were, desperate for American dollars, selling to their former enemy.

But we are not enemies any more. Many veterans for Vietnam have taken tours to meet with their former enemies. Neither side now has any animosity. For fighting men as they age, come to realize both sides are just doing the job expected of them. From personal accounts, they spoke of sharing more about that battle, with these former enemies on the other side who were there in the same place and same time, than they ever could with their wives or close family.

So what changed? Nothing really. Over time the ideology became pointless, and reality set in. Both side realized that working together would benefit each side more, than staying apart. Fortunately no retaliatory embargo was put in place, as we foolishly did to Cuba, for reasons now unknown……..

By showing our stiff upper lip, and our national tendency to be a prick, in Cuba we solidified the very government we were hoping to bring down with our embargo. But by opening our trade doors wide as we have done lately to Vietnam, we open channels of influence that were up to this point in time, were impossible to navigate.

I am sad that we did not realize this earlier and use what was good and great about America, to win the Vietnam war. Instead we chose to force them to comply, without realizing how we feel ourselves when forced to make decisions that go against what we want to pursue.

But it is not too late for Iraq. Many on the republican side, wring their hands and say “the good news is not getting out.” They are correct. There is much good going on in Iraq as we speak. This is going on despite the American interference, and not because of it. But these very same republicans need to realize, that their good friends and bed buddies the Communists, did exactly that when they were in Afghanistan. They too did great works, but it was not enough. They still lost…….why? because they kept fighting.

Anyone who has ever been happily married, or has a boss and is not self employed, knows sometimes you win……….by losing, or acquiescing to the other’s demands. Furthermore, as anyone who is Christian can tell you, you live a better life when you give up your selfish wants, and instead focus on alleviating the wants of others. You are truly a much better person helping others, and life is far richer than it was, back when it was all about “you.”

So how can we apply this to Iraq?

It is not that difficult. Really! And were we to do so, we could continue to have all those benefits promised to our country. Here is how to do it.

We begin an immediate, staged pullback. Pulling away from high problem areas, and station ourselves at isolated 911 (need help, call) bases in the desert.

We turn control over to the police and military. They need our help, they call us. We will be there with overwhelming force in twenty minutes.

We concede that the oil and money that comes from it, belongs to Iraq and does not belong to the coalition governments. We set up the nationalized oil ministry of Iraq, and dismantle the puppet oil ministry of the United States.

We continue to pacify the Shiites and provide balance against Iran’s influence. We support the Kurds against Turkey. We leave the Sunni’s alone, until they can see within their other two neighboring provinces, the economic benefits of working with us, and not against us.

In peaceful areas, we begin rebuilding infrastructure with Iraqi labor. Our current enemies still do not have jobs. And it has been how long since “Mission Accomplished?”

When we still suffer casualties, we leave. If they want us out, why are we staying, especially now, once we have conceded it is not OUR oil? When average citizens see that they could have had electricity, that they could have had fresh water, that they could have had dental work done, and that they could have saved their child’s life with American medical care, the insurgency will die. They have nothing tangible to offer Iraqis except fear…………..We do!

What about those Iraqis who sat on the fence for three or four years, and now have finally chosen to fight us? Why the wait? What pushed their choice now? Truly to wait that long, tells us that they are not fighting for religious ideology, or political persuasion, but for their own survival.

If America can use its “smarts” to come up with a way for the Iraqis to prosper without fighting and dying, we can still win the war.

This war will not be a waste if we pull back now. It will be a waste, like Vietnam, if we don’t……….. Now, I do not want to fall into the trap of implying that Iraq is just like Vietnam. …. It isn’t……..

Vietnam was full of jungles. Iraq is a desert. They are very different.

Other than that small fact, the two conflicts are pretty much the same………..

Why the recalcitrance on the “War” by the Bush Administration?

Elections 08

Any wavering now will be deemed a failure of the party’s leadership.  (Which it is, but no one knows it yet.)

But as election day approaches, and with it,  the prospect of troops being pulled home, the euphoria will  sway towards the Republicans, just as it did to Nixon in 72.

Expect a version coming soon of “Peace with Honor,” known in military circles as “get the hell out.”

The war will be old news by November 08 and priorities will be elsewhere, giving a boost to the Republican poll numbers.

This is an effective strategy and will work.  Some of us around in 72 saw it happen then, unbelievable as it was in mid 71…….

To maintain credibility, the Republicans must keep troops in harms way……..otherwise all hope for them is lost………..

The only way left to support the troops is to call for an impeachment today.  Even if it fails by (right now 6 votes), it sets the Constitution as the prime authority of this nation, not the Executive Branch.

You think?

Where's Paris Hilton's Pardon?
Oh, So that is what Happened to Paris's Pardon

Two public jailbirds had two opposite outcomes in each of their run- ins with the law. The real question that has yet to be asked is not so much as to why Scooter Libby got a pardon, that was a foregone conclusion, but what is most puzzling is why Paris Hilton did not?

I mean, as far as I know, Scooter has never been in a video. When I search for “One Night on a Scooter” my search comes up empty……And everyone knows that Scooter didn’t have his own reality TV show, but those scenes with Paris and Nicole, are classics. Nor did he do any car-wash commercials, at least as far as I know. And unless secrets are kept better in Washington, than they are in Hollywood, there is relatively no chance that Scooter was running around with an underwearless Brittney Spears, although if it is true that he was, then that for the first time, would shed light on why Brittney disintegrated like she did………….

Paris committed a serious crime. Scooter only, well it wasn’t a crime, all he did was lie, like what’s the big deal? It’s not like he tried to drive without a license, or anything horrific like that. He just told a white lie, and the stupid judge made his sentence was way harsher than that of Ms Hilton: how unjust is that?

And all those ga’ga Republicans make a big deal about Scooter outing a CIA agent, like it’s a crime, or something. What’s wrong with them? Haven’t they ever heard of the paparazzi? There are no secrets these days. If you want the truth and hard nosed investigative reporting, look in the tabloids. Making a big deal over blowing a CIA agent’s cover, come on, get over it.

So the question is why did Paris Hilton, who is “way more cool”, not get a pardon like Scooter Libby? Is there any justice left within the justice department of this administration?

The answer appears to be because she was sentenced in California. Had she been in DC, like Libby was, things may have turned out the same for both. But apparently, the Federal attorney personally responsible for keeping Paris Hilton out of trouble, was fired. Some claim it was for incompetence, but it was really just another ho hum political firing……

Unlike Paris Hilton, who told Larry King that she learned a valuable lesson, and now wants to help others less fortunate than herself, Scooter Libby says he is vindicated by his pardon. he was right all along and now he is asking others more fortunate, to help him. He rightly insists that he did nothing wrong, quite unlike that other person who drove their car when they weren’t supposed to.

But the major difference still exists between these two jailbirds, which could be summed up in this fashion. One talks to everyone through a grate; the other grates everyone when they talk…………………….

Impeachment proceedings need to start tomorrow, because of this example of uneven justice. Bush needs to pardon Paris Hilton and expunge her record. Otherwise……America needs to take him to task for unequal justice…….

George W's  Imperial Palace:  Baghdad

As the Bush administration struggles to weave together any positive pieces out of Iraq, into a quilt large enough to hide themselves and his administration behind, more servicemen die each day. More money goes bye-bye. More bad news filters back.

With everything going on I missed the anniversary of a deceit fostered on Congress by this administration. Just a little over a year ago today, Bush spoke before a large Chicago convention and said, ” We have now reached a turning point in the struggle between freedom and terror”, he said, pouring on the optimism. “Iraqis have demonstrated that democracy is the hope of the Middle East, and the destiny of all mankind. …….Years from now, people will look back on the formation of a unity government in Iraq, as a decisive moment in the liberty, a moment when freedom gained a firm foothold in the Middle East and the forces of terror began their long retreat.

Two days later an intelligence assessment (pg 471), classified as SECRET, was circulated among White House staff members that showed the forces of terror were not on retreat. It was a stunning refutation of the president’s forecasts most recently made in Chicago, just two days earlier.

In large print it stated: “ATTACKS IN MAY WILL LIKELY SURPASS APRIL LEVELS WHICH WERE THE HIGHEST EVER RECORDED. THE SUNNI ARAB INSURGENCY IS GAINING STRENGTH AND INCREASING CAPACITY DESPITE POLITICAL PROGRESS AND IRAQI SECURITY FORCES DEVELOPMENT.

This was next to a chart showing average attacks per day climbing consistently from January 06 at 72, up each subsequent month: 87, 95, 110, 113 in May 06. A ten point average daily climb would result in an increase of 30o each month. It is the trend that is noticeable, not the number of attacks. As we Americans back home were propelled towards a midterm election, we were being force fed on our progress in Iraq, not that we were steadily losing the battle of security.

This SECRET report continues: INSURGENTS AND TERRORISTS RETAIN THE RESOURCES AND CAPABILITIES TO SUSTAIN AND EVEN INCREASE CURRENT LEVEL OF VIOLENCE THROUGH THE NEXT YEAR. The picture could have not been darker.

The US had about 130,000 troops, about 80% of the height of 160,000, and the Iraqis had steadily added security forces and now had some 269,000 military and police. Many of these Iraqis had taken the lead, running security operations within Iraq, although even they had US military advisers embedded with them. We were doing all the right things……….why was it not getting better?

The SECRET transcript says more. ASSESSMENT: CONTINUING SECURITY AND SABOTAGE DIVERT RECONSTRUCTION FUNDS TO TRIAGE REPAIRS AND FUEL IMPORTS. PRODUCTION UNLIKELY TO MEET 2006 MINISTRY OF OIL TARGETS WITHOUT INFRASTRUCTURE REHABILITATION, ENHANCED SECURITY AND EXPANDED FOREIGN INVESTMENT.

The political front was preoccupied with the fight for control between the ministries of Sunnis and those of the Shiites. MINISTERS WILL BE POLITICALLY LOYAL TO THEIR RESPECTIVE PARTIES AND SOME MINISTRIES ARE LIKELY TO BECOME HAVENS FOR THE POLITICAL PARTIES WHO CONTROL THEM.

THREATS OF SHIA ASCENDANCY COULD HARDEN AND EXPAND SHIA MILITANT OPPOSITION AND INCREASE CALLS FOR COALITION WITHDRAWAL.”

SHIA MILITIA INTEGRATION MAY ALIENATE SUNNI ARABS, MANY OF WHOM VIEW SHIA GROUPS AS COMPLICIT IN EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS.

Other intelligence added to the bleak picture. It was at this time that advanced IED’s called explosively formed penetrators (EFP’s) were tearing apart our Humvee’s, Bradley’s, and even penetrating our Abrams. They were not that high tech, but required sufficient sophistication that they could not have been handmade. The high quality of machining and the higher quality of triggering devices had been traced to Iran. Some were triggered by passive infrared devices that could overcome US countermeasures.

It is obvious why this was not made public. If it had leaked it would have cause a fire that could have cost the election. First to fall would be the administration’s credibility. “Hey republicans, are you sure it’s not another WMD?” Second, if it were true, it meant that Iran was killing American soldiers, an act of war. Opponents of the original war had proposed that it would lead to war with Iran…..and here it was proving true. Third, the EFP’s were being fed to a few Shia groups in the south. Suppose the Iranians were to give the technology and knowhow to the militant Sunni’s, the group responsible for 95% of the attacks on US forces? Polls showed that 50% of Sunni’s had positive feelings towards the insurgency. Since Sunnis were 20% of the population of Iraq, that means that at least 10% of the entire population of 20 million, or at least 2 million, looked favorably upon the insurgency. It is now too late. There is no way to turn them around. To win, as republicans want us to do, we will have to kill 2 million people, one third of Hitler’s Holocaust totals.

Here is what we heard, the next day, if you dare remember. This is General Pace, Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff: ” Sure the attacks are up. Folks want this place to be ungovernable so that when it is ungovernable, we will walk away and they can take over. So you can expect the attacks to stay up because every day that Maliki and parliament meet it is a bad day for those who are creating the attacks.” The reporter asks: “so are they on the ropes?” He answered, ” they are on the ropes …………if this parliament continues to function, and this prime minister continues to function.”

” You are going to sound like Cheney…” commented the reporter. “You want to retract that?” “I do,” he replied. “I would like to retract that. Thank you. I appreciate that. I appreciate the courtesy.”

The reporter then asked about victory and how it might be achieved? He acknowledged that there would have to be self government and physical reconstruction of the country for that to happen. “Is this going to happen in your lifetime?” he was asked and he replied in true military fashion: “Yes it is. Well, I hope, yeah. I don’t know, “ he said. “I should retract that line. It can happen in my lifetime…….”

Here is the kicker. On May 26, two days after the intelligence assessment, and one day after Pace’s acknowledgment that we at least had very difficult times ahead, the Pentagon released a mandated public report to Congress entitled “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.” Although there was a report embedded in the middle of the 65 page document, that showed the attacks per week were over 600, the document put its most positive spin on stability and security.

Some of the happy talk: “Anti Iraqi forces, extremists and terrorists continue to fail in their campaign to derail the political process. and to foment civil war.” the report said, omitting any mention of the dark estimates lifted from the recent intelligence assessment. ” “More than 80 percent of attacks were concentrated in just four of Iraq’s 18 provinces”, it said as if violence had actually gone down. It failed to mention that those four provinces, included Baghdad, and contained 47% of the population. The report predicts that Iraqi rejectionists will maintain strength levels through 2006. But the report went on and completely fabricated this line: ” that the appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007″. The Pentagon report to Congress flatly contradicted its own secret assessment two days earlier that said that terrorists and insurgents retained the resources and capabilities to ” sustain and even increase current levels of violence through the next year.”

Isn’t lying before Congress a crime?

So who’s to blame. You can’t blame the military. They are being forced to put their best face forward and spin positive the impossible task to which they have been given.

You can’t blame the soldiers. They truly are America’s best and are doing an amazing job. They have but one order: to do their duty. And they do it so well. When asked to serve, they stepped up, and anywhere they go, they make a large impact. If anyone is to receive the blame for this shame, it belongs, not so much to those who are responsible for putting our troops into this mess, but to those who abdicated their responsibility to pull them out on time, thereby abandoning them and leaving them stuck in Iraq.

The President is in denial. His administration can pursue only one option. We had this before, when the Nixon administration hunkered down, defending its cover up of the Watergate affair. We can yell at him all we want, but he can’t hear us…………

If America is to pull back from the precipice, and acknowledge that we can’t butcher the 2 million Sunnis required to win, and recognize that we need to pursue other options besides the military one, ir America is to change its destiny, the push that will tip the balance, needs to come from Congress. Not the Democrats mind you, for they do not have the 67 votes needed to overcome the certain veto. It will require the defection of Senate Republicans, one by one, away from the failed policies of Cheney-Bush who commenced a policy so flawed, that even our generals estimate that it will take the Holocaust of 2 million Sunni’s to win the war. It is strictly on the shoulders of these 18 republican (or independent) Senators, that all hope lies. If you have a Republican senator, they need to hear from enough of you, their constituents, to know that their jobs are in jeopardy should they fail. They also need to know they will be forgiven, if they change their votes right now. It is not the brave, but the fence sitters who now hold America’s future in their hands. The destiny of those who will not come back, lies in their decision. Those eighteen are in need of our prayers and our support. They need to know you care. Each voter who has a Republican Senator should take on as their personal responsibility, to call them and ask how long the are willing to prolong a dying cause. Tell them you know it will take the slaughter of 2 million Sunni’s for us to win? Tell them that is unacceptable for Americans. For without your pressure, calls, and letters, those eighteen would continue to plod along through a vacuum devoid of facts, spun by this administration deep in denial, and unknowingly throw this country’s reputation away for some cheap assurances of political loyalty.

Remember the movie Matewan? When courageous West Virginian miners stood up to the union busting coal companies, and risked everything to win their right to live as Americans should? Today, American unions aren’t the same. Perhaps spoiled by their success during the twenty’s, today they rarely show that much muscle and instead pat themselves on each others backs whenever they finagle an agreement that often capitulates to corporate owners, but, in turn, increases their own personal net worth as wealthy individuals.

Fortunately that is not the case in Iraq. In a little known story, the unions of oil workers, located in the southern area of Iraq near Basra, organized and stood up to first Bremer’s coalition government, then Halliburton’s storm troopers, and now the puppet government of Maliki. As we now are coming to realize, the current military buildup or Surge as it is called, which we all knew had little chance of overall success, is simply a political move to apply pressure and force Iraqi passage of the Hydrocarbon’s Act, which as mentioned elsewhere, guarantees a whopping 70% instead of a normal 10% of Iraqi oil profits to American oil companies. The surge is there not just to protect a few American supporters, but is intended to intimidate and to suppress any Iraqi opposition that would naturally be expected to occur whenever one nation is forced to give up its national treasure to another. But as is often the case, when one pushes too hard to exert a pressure, a counter-resistance grows beneath their thumb.

So it is with the Iraqi unions. Their broken country is saturated by corruption, fed by the US interests, Exxon-Mobil, Phillips-Conoco, and Chevron, all of which exert a strong influence upon those “oil ministers” who were groomed on these shores months before this war began. In this environment, it is only the labor unions who have found the moral courage, as did Americans of old, to stand up against impossible odds, and proclaim “no, this just isn’t right.”

What bravery those unions are showing against impossible odds, is even more admirable when compared to the ethics of those at home, right here in our “land of the brave”.

Unfortunately, the moral courage, once possessed by our reporters and newsman on which many of us were weaned during the Nixon-Watergate years, now seems to have ebbed somewhat. Today if one wants truth, only the blogs are speaking it.

Just recently Kucinich’s magnificent 50 min speech which only got to the floor by a rare parliamentary move, outlines for the first time on the hallowed floors of Congress, exactly the horrific terms we are forcing upon the Iraqi’s with this Hydrocarbon Bill. Any mention of this historical event was buried deep on the back pages of America’s mainstream media, or worse, met with silence.

But bloggers jumped all over it. One must shake his head in shame. How can one honestly explain why newspapers, which of course, are primarily funded through advertising revenues, could possibly be loathe to print, and want to bury, a news story that now rivals the Watergate cover-up as the prime example of our government going over the edge? Does not this Hydrocarbon Bill, developed here inside the Beltway’s oil-funded think-tanks, and now being forced through the Bush administration’s approved and appointed Iraqi ministers, when read fully, prove without a doubt that we went to war for oil? Can any reasonable person assume a different outcome? Can anyone also explain why none of 2008’s front runners, also funded primarily through large corporate donors, have dared to mention this outrage in any of their campaign whistle stops?
Afraid of something they must be.

Are PSA’s really that bad? Here is what the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (page 87) had to say about them.

“PSAs are the oil industry’s equivalent of sharecropping contracts. As with the latter, economic theory suggests that PSAs are inefficient contract forms because the FOC
does not receive its marginal product. Thus, the question arises how and why this inefficient form of an oil contract flourishes. Principal-agent theory helps to explain
how risks and rewards have to be balanced in order to nonetheless let this type of arrangement prosper. The fact that PSAs are one of the dominant exploration and
development agreements points towards their efficiency as an institutional arrangement for risk sharing even if they are inefficient in terms of economic theory. In that sense it can be argued that a PSA is a political rather than an economic contract.”

What this says in “Oxford”ese, is that PSA’s are simply one sided agreements, like slavery, that cannot occur in free markets where both parties are willing. They can however, occur in forced arrangements.

We have taken the Matrix pill. And now it is clear. This is why we went to war. This is why we are spending a Trillion Dollars. This is why Rumsfeld hamstrung the Pentagon so success on the ground could not happen. This is why Cheney was so adamant not to release the Energy Task Force’s documents to the GAO. This is why the Vice President went to such great lengths, resulting in his imprisoned chief of staff, to discredit the notion that Iraq did not have nuclear weapons. This is why, against US law, records of who visited the Vice President, were erased. This is why Wolfowitz was put in charge of the IMF. This is why, when the officers on the ground, who we were repeatedly told were the ones being listened to, said emphatically that the surge was a waste of men and money, many names were passed over until a military commander was found who would say, even if only indirectly, that he could support it.

But enough about cowardly squeamishness. I came to praise the Iraqi Oil Unions….

Just last week they received concessions from the Maliki government, and a strike was averted. This threatened strike would have, if it had occurred, shut down all oil flowing onto tankers out of southern Iraq. Those of you who understand Moslems, know that they place great symbolism upon certain numbers. Very important to them is the number 14. Article 14 in their demands states as follows:

14- Submit the draft of the new oil law for our union to study; we have reservations and questions concerning it.

If one continues reading one soon finds this clause in their list of initial demands.- Make a determination on oil companies’ profits margins on the basis of the amendments to which you agreed and to determine those margins according to the certification/attestation from the south region financial/tax jurisdictions, not according to the formula adopted by the Minister that has been deemed detrimental to our membership.

In American prose, that means “Don’t go with the American plan.” Perhaps I alone am guilty of showing my personal ignorance in my assuming that the barbarity of Saddam’s regime flowed through all Iraqis, and that the cruel bombings of civilians showed a lack of polish on their entire culture. I was somewhat take back by the civilized beauty of this statement.

It was our hope, after the fall of that statue, to witness the dawn of a new era marked by the recognition of the legitimate rights of our members in the oil sector. This sector that for so long has suffered injustice and been denied equity. Since the advent of this new era, we focused our efforts into effectively thwarting all attempts to exploit this sector and tamper with our resources. You have been informed of how we stalled foreign companies in their attempts to control our oil fields and refineries, and how we forced them to leave. In addition, we worked hand in hand with the ministries and agencies to accelerate the pace of oil production, and to safeguard the means of production, and raise awareness amongst workers of investing to boost the chances of success for the new era. Unfortunately, our demands for entitlements were ignored, despite four years of continued promises by ministry and government officials. In fact, we took our demands to the highest levels of the government.
We kept the prime minister apprized of our demands, but were disappointed when we came to realize that our demands fell on deaf ears. Throughout this period we worked to defuse anger and resentment and address criticism leveled by our members who mistakenly thought of us as the ones failing to put forth their legitimate demands.

In a joint statement, the Iraqi Labor Unions demand that the new oil laws be renegotiated. Knowing more than anyone else, what was at stake, this group has tried everything possible to convince rational human beings that these laws are not fair to the average Iraqi citizen.

In some commentary spoken in London, Hassan Juma’a, President of the General Union of Oil Employees in Basra, gave some illuminating testimony.

Particularly he provide some insight how Iraqi’s feel towards us when it comes to our actions with their oil. One can see the heavy hand of Bremer was instrumental in many of the problems we face today.


Paul Bremer’s decrees banned the formation of trade unions and associations in order to protect US interests. [They said that the 1987 decree remained in force]. We expected that the living standards of the workers would increase, but a table of wages was issued by Paul Bremer with eleven steps, where the oil workers’ wage was set at the equivalent of $35. That was strange for a country which has the second largest oil reserves in the world.

Meanwhile, workers brought from Asia by KBR [a subsidiary of the US corporation Hallliburton, granted contracts by the occupation authorities for reconstruction] were getting twenty times as much.

Then, in subtle understatement he describes the struggle, that must have mirrored the struggle at Matewan.

In the oil union we objected to the wages decision. The US administration refused to listen to us, so we staged a strike on 10 August 2003. We stopped oil exports for three days. It forced the Americans, the Oil Ministry, and the Finance Ministry to scrap the two lowest scales in the wages table.

We think it’s important KBR gets out, because we believe that US strategy is that military occupation should be followed by economic occupation.

So why has it taken so long for oil revenues to pay the cost of rebuilding Iraq. The finger again points to Cheney. According to the Union:

The Federation has announced it “will endeavor to to prevent exploitation by foreign companies and their flagrant interference in production and exports,” blaming the companies for “exploiting the current political vacuum and chaos in the country.” They claim that the Iraqi oil industry, far from needing external investment, is in fact being deliberately starved of funds to the tune of $4.5 billion this year, simply to worsen the country’s negotiating position as infrastructure slowly collapses. In fact the unions have been active in voluntarily maintaining infrastructure to fend off the need for external investment. They are also working on publicizing these secretive deals and building resistance.


As evidence accumulates one story at a time, the trend becomes very disheartening to any American familiar with the story of our founding Fathers. It will be hard to explain to our children, our complicity in letting Cheney do to Iraq, what we rebelled against Great Britain for doing to us.

Cheney took us in to rape Iraq. That is the only conclusion one can reasonably assume when presented with all of the unadulterated evidence.

It is truly ironic that American values are much more prevalent in a labor union halfway across the globe, than they are here within our hallowed halls of government.

Our bodies lie throughout this world,
Returned from where we came.
In honesty without our loss,
Life could not be the same.

by “k” , a Delaware poet