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An old American was reprocessing his old studies of Brezhnev-Soviet-Military thinking and brought back interesting points of discussion that directly relate to Syria.

The old Soviets had a classification for different types of wars:

“Many of these—such as the categorization of wars in ideological terms (including wars between imperialism and socialism, civil wars between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, wars between bourgeois states, national liberation wars)—now appear quaint and irrelevant for understanding today’s (and perhaps even yesterday’s) world.”

There was one other:  wars between the people and a regime of extreme reaction

“What they understood about these conflicts between a dictatorial regime and its opponents was that they were not conflicts between two parties, but among three”

“In wars between the people and a regime of extreme reaction…both communists and non-communists united to fight the dictatorship, with each group hoping later to establish its preferred form of government (dictatorship of the proletariat or republican democracy).

In these conflicts, once the dictator was overthrown, the Soviets knew they eventually had the upper hand because their supported group had outside support, whereas the moderates would be (abandoned by the United States who had been propping up the dictator) forced to fend for themselves.  With all factors being equal, the extra force could make a minority within the initial revolt, grab power after all was done.

Back then, it was America supporting the regimes of extreme reaction; the Soviets were seen the revolutionaries.  Today it is Russia and Iran, who support these dictatorial regimes, and moderates and a few islamists who are those engaged in making change.

The lesson taught was that once Assad falls, without America’s strong continued support of the moderates, the otherwise strong support of Saudi’s Sunnis behind the Islamists will tip the balance to their favor.  For as in the past, when moderates took on an American supported regime of extreme reaction, and the communists joined in the fight, it became viewed as part of the bipolar tug of war between the Communists and Capitalistic USA. Therefore even though the moderates usually far outnumbered the splinter cells of Communists, because the ending conflict was deemed a Soviet victory over the US, the communists had tremendous clout and enough support to take over power.

This certainly makes Syria clear.  In their battle against Assad, the Islamists supported by the Radical Sunni movements are few in number compared to the moderates who want a democratic republic after Assad leaves.

If Assad gets pushed out, the Islamists because of their unlimited funding and support can push themselves into power quickly, meanwhile the moderates sit around and try to figure out their next step.  In that vacuum the organized faction always wins.  The US then as now, could prevent this from happening by throwing its weight behind the moderates after the dictator is removed by being a counterbalancing force.

Our success in Western Europe after the Second World War by doing just that, never translated itself afterwards over to East Asia, Africa, or Central America.   Instead of immediately  inserting ourselves as a civilian presence when moderates and radicals toppled a regime, we sat on our hands, and only later would then send military hardware in our feeble attempt to contain the outbreak our own inaction created.

The lesson for the US is that we really need to not focus so much first on the war itself and then immediately extricate ourselves after the conflict when we are needed most, but we actually we need to use our debacle in Iraq as a self-taught lesson to create a civilian team we can move in at a moment’s notice with all the backing and assistance exhibited by the Marshall Plan, to quickly mend broken services, return to normalcy, and stifle the unrest that allows civil wars to fester and continue among both factions of winners long after the regime of extreme reaction is overthrown.

We need to focus on reacting immediately with ways to get a nation quickly back on its own feet as soon as the Dictator is disposed.

Our opponents of 40 years ago figured this out.  If we can learn this, that may be the most valuable legacy the Brezhnev era can ever pass on to us.

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On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the continuous guns fell silent…… After years of incoming artillery’s deep, resonant pounding,…..the quiet began. The rare pop of small arms fire,….. faded away. Cautiously a brave soul or two crawled out and stood on top of the trenches. Turning to the other side, they saw the enemy of just a few minutes before, mirroring their own actions…..It was truly over.

Compared to the rest of Europe, the US fared well. Germany, France, Great Britain lost an entire generation of their young men…..

Some dreamed that surely, after such a waste, there never could, or would be such a war again……

It was only a dream…..as history would soon prove……

On this day, there are 22 verified veterans left….worldwide. Four of these are Americans. Soon the last living memories of this war….. will fade away……….

My brush with living memories happened when I was in High School. What the German war machine failed to do………an insignificant clot accomplished. Those who visited, told stories of the dark, turbulent wrestling within the soul……They whispered of an alert mind, albeit one locked in the year 1917 from which it would ultimately and peacefully escape…. They spoke in hushed tones of an old man, possessing enormous strength, incapable of being subdued by even the hospital’s largest orderlies……They told of the soldier’s enterprising son, who climbing back into those years to be with him, and navigating the treacherous barbed wire memories, peacefully calmed him down, until the old soldier finally accepted that his war was over, and quietly signed his own armistice with God………..

We learned he had suffered from shell shock as they called it then, spending the post-war years in a sanitarium somewhere in occupied Germany, of the bland letters to his wife and unseen child back home, letters whose lack of substance during this vapid time, played rabidly on her fears of another women…..

We heard stories of involuntary reactions, occurring some twenty years later…of a face, framed by white hair, turned scarlet in the middle of a social gathering, when someone absently said, “Oh that was during the war.”

And then there were the personal effects, a letter rapidly written in German by a dying officer, with our hero’s first name mentioned as being the one entrusted to make sure the letter got back to his wife, a letter that said the war would soon be over for him, that the only important thing he hung onto as he crossed over to the the other side, were the times he and she had shared together……..As kids we used to march around in a dough boy’s hat, and a genuine spiked Prussian helmet. (the originals were all black, by the way, no silver.)

And then the youngest son, who came along after our soldier had mellowed somewhat, told of stumbling with his dad, across a model of one battlefield, I think it was Belleau Wood, and how that opened up the memories which, pent up for years, calmly flowed out unrepressed, with no emotional consequences.

Through this, we heard the story of a young officer defying a direct order to attack, solely because the objective was unattainable and trying to attempt it, would wipe out every one of his men….Who opting, instead of facing a firing squad, to have himself crawl into no mans land……accompanied only by his sergeant who had stood steadfast with him during this ordeal only to get ripped apart minutes later, had to lie there for two days protected under the warm, safe body which occasionally absorbed a well placed bullet, kept safe by only the tiniest rise of land preventing a direct shot…..

The story of showing up in France, and leading the AEF’s first attack, upon a fortified hill surrounded by the Meuse, and succeeding…..

Those memories didn’t die….they passed and took seed in another generation. Today they lie embedded in one more, a generation who once again questions the “why” of war.

Like his grandfather before him, this person too was brought up under a religion that seem to question war and tell us to “turn the other cheek.” Like his grandfather before him, this person too believes that sometimes there is no greater duty, than to give one’s life for one’s country……..How are these two, supposedly opposite points of view, ever to be reconciled?

We know that Jesus allowed his disciples to carry swords. During the final days, when he asks the disciples if they have a sword, and Peter shows two, he says that is enough…..But later that night when Peter uses his sword to protect Jesus and cuts off a servant’s ear, Jesus tells him sternly. “Put that away. We will have no more of that…”

Fascinating. This duality starts from the beginning of the Christian religion itself.

Throughout history, the worst wars fought have been religious ones. The longest animosities, the ones considered too hard to bury, are those originally pricked by religion….

When we are told to turn the other cheek, perhaps we are to do that on a personal level…. By doing so, hoping that we show others, just how deeply we believe these principals . Perhaps this line of thought recognizes that we are each small instruments of change; but a change of heart in multitudes of men, can implement massive changes…..Therefore doing a self deprecating act, such as dying for another, or carrying an enemy soldier’s bag an extra mile, can have a much greater impact overall, than another killing and the loss of one dead soldier…..

But as a nation of free people we have another responsibility. That responsibility is to ensure that justice, (or that which is right),… prevails over evil, (or that which is wrong)…. As some of you may note, there is a wide play of interpretation in just exactly what is right, and what is wrong…..

But for a strong nation to appease a despot like Stalin, Hitler, or those tyrants in Burma, does exactly the opposite of performing justice. Instead it shows others, despite our words, that we implicitly support these evil regimes, and in doing so, we fail to send hope and inspiration to those who fight, to right the wrongs caused by their misguided leaders….

War enacted by a political state is sometimes a necessity, the last remaining line of defense against the selfish designs of a demented few. Less pain and suffering worldwide, can be bandaged by enacting war, than by allowing open wounds to fester, rot, and spread their evil infection elsewhere.

Therefore as a nation, the United States must occasionally gamble all of it’s resources in the ultimate test…. One must on occasion risk all, to determine whether all was worthy to be risked……

Any nation is only as good as its foot soldiers,…. its grunts. Those choice veterans I know, with whom I’ve hugged, laughed, and cried, …… continue to reinforce the notion I once had as a child: that based on the quality of people who put their lives on the line for this nation, we are truly the best nation to have ever lived upon this planet……..

Perhaps the greatest tragedy coming out of Iraq, was the replacement of the pragmatic Ret. General Jay Garner, with the politically appointed Paul Brenner. Almost overnight, Iraq flip flopped from welcoming the United States, to blowing us up…….

If you can remember the boys around the cameras,……..”we love Bush….Bush is the Man”, then you understand how good things were looking in the first months after Baghdad fell and what a great job the pragmatic Jay Garner did.

The subsequent change after Garner left, shows one thing. Republican philosophy stinks, not just for Americans, but apparently everyone else too. (lol) (Sorry dudes….It just does!) The national blog Toms.Dispatch has this take on one date in 2004 when Mike Castles hero, George Bush, bestowed the Medals of Freedom on Tommy Franks, George Tenet, and Paul Bremmer. In case you missed it, I said Medals of FREEDOM.

Tommy Franks, the first recipient, has brought to the Afghans, the freedom “to grow just about the total opium crop needed to provide for the globe’s heroin addicts — 8,200 tons of opium in 2007, representing 93% of the global opiates market. This was a 34% jump from the previous year and represented opium production on what is undoubtedly a historic scale. Afghanistan’s peasants, surviving as best they can in a land of narco-warlords, narco-guerrillas, and deadly air attacks have, once again, set a record when it comes to this unique freedom.” Well deserving choice of the Medal of Freedom.

Secondly and one of my personal favorites, solely because he is a holdover from the glory days of the Clinton Administration, is George Tenet. I like this guy, and sympathize with being in his position of having to compromise defending the country, with working with the Cheney cabal…..Surely he is deserving of the Medal of Freedom. After all, ”

As CIA Director, Tenet then delivered to Agency operatives the freedom to target just about anyone on the planet who might qualify (however mistakenly) as a “terror suspect,” kidnap him, and “render” him in extraordinary fashion either to a foreign prison where torture was regularly practiced or to a CIA secret prison in Afghanistan, Eastern Europe, or who knows where else. He also freed the Agency to “disappear” human beings (a term normally used in our world only when Americans aren’t the ones doing it) and freed the Agency’s interrogators to use techniques like waterboarding, known in less civilized times as “the water torture” (and only recently banned by the Agency) as well as various other, more sophisticated forms of torture.” Another great choice by George Bush.

Now I have some qualms about the third one. Paul Bremmer has probably contributed the most to freedom than anyone in modern memory. He can be thanked for the unlimited freedom Blackwater Security now has throughout the entire region of iraq. They can thank Paul Bremmer.

“A day before he left, however, he established a unique kind of freedom in Iraq, not seen since the heyday of European and Japanese colonialism. By putting his signature on a single document, he managed to officially establish an “International Zone” that would be the fortified equivalent of the old European treaty ports on the China coast and, at the same time, essentially granted to all occupying forces and allied companies what, in those bad old colonial days, used to be called “extraterritoriality” — the freedom not to be in any way under Iraqi law or jurisdiction, ever.”

So today, again before the world at the United Nations General Assembly hall, the current United States president, George W. Bush, got up and proclaimed he was dedicated to working for freedom…..

After considering his track record and using that definition of freedom instead of the one Bush tried his best to enunciate,…. the world’s governments collectively yawned a big yawn, leaned back in their chairs, and politely said “no thanks.”

” F R E E D O M !!!” William Wallace: Braveheart

You may not like Hillary Clinton……perhaps her negatives are too high for you……but regardless of what you think of her personality and politics, she comes from New York. And that makes her something…………

You may think I came to praise her, but I am really going in the opposite direction and praising New York. What gives Hillary her credibility, is that some of the greatest people on earth chose her to be their Senator……

There is something different about New York. Not just the city, but the entire state has a distinctive unique characteristic. I guess it stems from the fact that no one, no one intimidates them. They don’t prance around Celia-like to politicians; they hold them accountable. Either the politician performs, or “he’s outta there.” ( The fact that a majority of them ‘dis Giuliani, speaks highly of them also. )

Today I got this snippet of news from the paper of a tiny little town near Minot…….It was an AP announcement that was deemed irrelevant every where but North Dakota……. It was an “A ha” moment, because it provides a solution that may have some bearing on Delmarva’s recalcitrance to “play ball by the rules.”

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating five major energy companies to determine if plans to create coal-fired power plants present an undisclosed financial risk to investors.

There are so many parallels to our situation. First both of our Attorney Generals are sons of famous political fathers. Second, if creating coal fired power plants presents an undisclosed financial risk to investors, what does that say about Delmarva, who is spurning Blue Water Wind, a triple A+ investment, for continuing to receive power from coal fired power plants, a triple F- investment?…….

Obviously New York is staging an “strong offense” as their primary “defense” to open the Long Island Sound Wind Farm. Should they succeed and open their wind farm before Delmarva allows us to open ours, we might as well turn all positive financial growth opportunities for this state, over to them………..

What is ironical is that their AG is suing the “old school” of power generation for the same reason Delmarva is suing to stop the “new school” of power generation.

As I mentioned in a comment over on Tommywonk, one option we have is for our AG to sue Delmarva Power for presenting an undisclosed risk to the people of Delaware by their not allowing us a healthy, environmentally friendly, and far cheaper electricity than we pay already……But ideally, taking the investors side of the equation would be much cleaner, easier to prosecute, and based on evidence found in Delawares blogs, and all over the internet, ….”a slam dunk.”

As I pointed out before, Delmarva bases their cost on figures consumers were paying BEFORE THE 60% RATE HIKES TOOK EFFECT IN MAY 2006. (All their calculations use 2005 numbers). They use these outdated cheap numbers to make their case that Delaware consumers will pay more if they go with Blue Water Wind.

Therefore they are misleading their investors. I am not a legal expert, but I believe there are laws against that? Duh! That should put them squarely in the same boat as Enron. And we know what happened to those cronies……….

Delaware needs to pursue the same strategy as New York. Why should they get all the glory. After all, compare their two AG’s! Only one has a father who has run for the Presidency…….. twice.

Will He Become the Aragorn Who Takes On Mordor? Sam the Brave, without whom, the Quest would End in Failure.

Cheap, Renewable Energy In The Making

Tommywonk, WGMD, and the News Journal all have stories regarding the Blue Waster Wind deal. There are positive notes.

Based on the term sheet
we can expect the following.

300 MW each hour, enough to power all the homes in Delaware.

No increase , for the next 25 years, over what we are now paying for electricity. By the way oil hit $ 80 a barrel today, pushing up coal and gas! But will it affect Delaware’s electricity rates? Not with wind power, it won’t!

Wind power guaranteed to be on line in either 6 3/4 or 7 years.

Construction costs of 1.5 billion directly infused into the local economy.

Increased aesthetics and fishing habitats to the Rehoboth/Dewey Beach area.

Transmission upgrades included in cost. No additional charges for Delaware consumers.

Finally. A business dedicated to full compliance with Federal, State, and Local environmental requirements.

But there are storm clouds of doubt and uncertainty surrounding both Delmarva’s and Connectiv’s commitment to this grand project, completion of which would elevate Delaware to be the “First State” in renewable energy.

They are focused on the lack of transparency of Delmarva’s calculations. Delmarva wishes to make up stuff, and not have to show how it came about with the figures it did. Can you imagine if Bush last night had said: ” No American has died in Iraq, and not one dollar of taxpayer money has been spent in Iraq. Therefore we will continue on plan.” That is exactly what Delmarva wants to be allowed to do……….
make stuff up……….

Furthermore, Delmarva wants to charge penalties to Blue Water Wind based solely on the stuff it makes up. Both Blue Water Wind and NRG have consulted among themselves and independently determined that penalties will not be necessary. They can perform well within the criteria. But Delmarva wants to charge them anyway should it ever arbitrarily decide it needs some extra cash………Likewise,

while Bluewater attempted to have similar dialog with Connectiv on this and other issues related to the proper coordination between the wind park and the back up facility, Connectiv declined to enter into a confidentiality agreement related to any such discussions and no dialog was possible.

As has often been my experience in business, when someone gets antsy about poking through their records, it usually means they are stealing. In government, when public officials get antsy about the opening of committees and hearings to public scrutiny, it usually means they are stealing. So why, might we ask, should Connectiv pattern the same behavior and not enter a confidentiality agreement Blue Water Wind, unless they have some dark secret they cannot afford to see the light or day? This should send up a red flag of outrage for all citizens. Is another Enron brewing at Connectiv?

Outstanding issues that may or may not block the forward momentum.

1) The first issue is the consequence of the delay caused by the impending lawsuits sponsored by Delmarva and Connectiv.

Delmarva has taken the position that it must retain its appeal rights ( and therefore it would not discontinue its appeal of the State Agencies prior order authorizing these negotiations), and that it does not control its affiliated company Connectiv and should therefore retain the right to terminate and/or collect delay damages.

In other word if Delmarva/Connectiv purposefully slows down the process, it is entitled to receive the delay penalties owed to it on behalf of the BlueWater Wind investors. As was dryly noted: “such a provision presents a serious concern to Blue Water investors..”

2) Delmarva seeks termination rights in the event of a consolidation triggered by accounting rules FASB Interpretation #46. Under these rules, if Delmarva is the primary beneficiary of Blue Water Wind, Delmarva may be required to consolidate Blue Water Wind. To prevent this, Blue Water has offered to modify the agreement so as to eliminate the consolidation, in lieu of termination rights. So far Delmarva has refused. Again, as is dryly noted, Delmarva’s termination could again cost Blue Water’s investors millions of dollars.

3) Finally Delmarva has adamantly insisted upon the right to veto any change of control (not to be unreasonably withheld) at Bluewater , for any time over the next 25 years, regardless of the level of ownership at which the change of control takes place. This of course gives Delmarva the option to block deals resulting in tens of Billions of dollars which may not have any relationship to the wind farm. (Delmarva has adamantly refused to accept the same restrictions upon itself). Obviously the Blue Water Investors are uneasy about this clause as well. Bluewater has proposed several compromise solutions, all of which have been rejected by Delmarva.

Obviously Delmarva is unhappy to find itself in the position of supplying Delaware with cheap energy. They would much rather see households paying $8oo a month for electricity, than say $80.

But with proper public pressure these deals could still go forward. It is reassuring that great strides have already been taken…………….

The recalcitrance of Delmarva Power brings up an interesting conclusion. We need a counterbalancing force to maintain balance when one entity leans too far in the wrong direction.

What is a State Power Authority? (No, it’s not a Sen. Adams) New York state has had an active and successful power authority for many years. Proposals are being actively debated in state legislatures in Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, and Rhode Island.

New York State provides a great example. That state’s Power Authority, was created to build the massive Niagara Falls (Mike, got pictures?) Power station which, would provide cheap, efficient, hydroelectric power for the entire western half of the state.

Like Delaware, it was the initial investment in the infrastructure that provide the major portion of the cost. Like wind, water going over the falls, is free. The state took over its portion of the risk for the right to control prices for its constituents.

With cheap power, came great jobs, as anyone who has driven across Western New York can attest, just from reading the logos of major company headquarters along the route. From Albany to Buffalo, all along the old Erie Canal route, good jobs are available because many companies decided to take advantage of reliable, cheap power.

Other famous power authorities include the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Bonneville Power Authority. Again many jobs followed cheap power into these previously economic barren areas….

Delaware could benefit from its own Power Authority. Here is how it could work.

A. Delaware’s General Assembly responds to the fact that Delmarva will not comply, and establishes the Delaware Power Authority.

B. The Delaware Power Authority, or DPA, could issue bonds backed by the “full faith and credit of the state.” Currently it would have little difficulty raising the funds necessary to assist in the building of a 600 MW wind-farm off the coast of Sussex County.

C. The State Power Authority could then sell directly to customers, along the lines of the municipal power authorities today, or it could sell at cost to Delmarva Power (or a corporate rival for those who like “market economics”), thereby driving DOWN the price of electrical energy for the benefit of all who choose to reside within this state’s boundaries. The lowest bid would be chosen.

D. The DPA (Delaware Power Authority) could step in and fill reliability needs that could not met by reasonable proposals being dictated by marketing conditions. The New York Power Authority in 2001 built 10 power generators around New York City, which are credited with staving off a major blackout in 2001. The NYPA was able to act quickly because of its emergency siting powers, far faster than a corporate entity could.

E. Using its state authority status, the DPA could empower the state Attorney General to arrest and charge any future Stockbridge-ian type of delay caused by petty intransigence.

Conclusion: A state base power authority can offer its citizens, a cost-based alternative to a single service utility which absence of strong regulation, has strong internal incentives to raise its prices.

Real life American examples:

The federal Tennessee Valley Authority was founded to fund the initial creation and testing of nuclear power

The federal Bonneville Power Administration was founded to fund the series of giant dams up and down the Columbia River.

The state run New York Power Authority was founded to fund the development of the massive Niagra Falls power station.

The Delaware Power Authority should soon be founded to fund the building of America’s first offshore wind farm just east off our southern coast.

Doing so would provide us all with cheap power and a solid economic future.

The Delaware Power Authority: It is a great idea that just needs to happen.


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.

Most often in the banter over the course of Iraq, two camps emerge. The one supporting withdrawal, is often considered to be Democratic in nature, and the other, promoting escalation, is primarily considered to be Republican. Evidence of such partisan bantering can be found in the comments on this post here.

However I have found that is not true. There may be some generalities that occur, party vrs. party, but more appropriately would be a classification of two camps based solely on their views, and not on their party affiliation.

Here is what changed my mind.

In the fall of 2005, a respected, noted Republican was sat next to Senator John McCain. McCain, who had campaigned with Bush said that he had grown to kinda like the guy. This Republican asks McCain, “So, does he ever ask you opinion?”

“I don’t believe in giving my opinion when I am with him campaigning,” McCain said. “These guys come up, they get two minutes with the president, and they try to tell him how to run the country. I don’t”

” That’s not what I asked,” said our Republican. “Has he ever said “John, tell me, what do you think about………..?”

“No, no he hasn’t” said McCain. “As a matter of fact, he is not intellectually curious. But one of the things he did say to me one time is he said: ‘I don’t want to be like my father. I want to be like Ronald Reagan.

Now this just happened to burn this Republican, who by now was feeling increasingly hopeless. It was obvious that this administration was doing the unthinkable, repeating the mistakes of Vietnam. Few people knew more about Vietnam than this Republican, who had worked on Vietnam for Presidents Nixon and Ford. Now he felt that there was even a lesser chance of building an army out of Iraqis than there had been in Vietnam three decades earlier, when they had been trying to build up the South Vietnamese army, which had existed as a powerful, even almost autonomous force in Vietnam in its own right. Unlike Vietnam, in Iraq, the armies were split among factions of the Shiites, Sunnis, or Kurds. It was a catastrophe in the making.

Over the course of the reconstruction, this Republican was disappointed with the performances of those he had previously worked with and mentored. He considered Hadley who had been on his staff in the early 70’s, as a dear friend. But Hadley would not stand up to anybody. not Cheney, not Rice, and certainly not to Rumsfeld. He wouldn’t even stand up for his own opinions. Even the president’s father had confided he was not happy with the performance of Rice. “Condi is a disappointment, isn’t she?” He added, “she is not up to the job”

Looking over at the Pentagon’s table, this Republican noted that General Myers, the outgoing chairman of the JCS, was a broken man, a puppy dog. General Pace was worse. Pace had watched Myers get stomped on by Rumsfeld for four years, knew exactly what he was getting into, and took the job anyway.

Cheney was the worse, this old Republican felt. “What’s happened to Cheney” all the old friends were saying to him, those who had know him for years. It was a chorus. “We don’t know this Dick Cheney.”

Rumsfeld was behaving as he always had, going back to the Ford administration–“enigmaic, obstructionist, devious, never know what his game is.” Rumsfeld was viewed as a wholly negative factor.

However most tragic, this Republican felt, was that this administration had believed Saddam was running a modern, efficient state, and that when he was toppled, there would be an operating system left behind. They hadn’t seen that everything would collapse and they would be left to start with zero. They were blind to the need for security, and did not see that over 90% of the Iraqi army could be saved and used. So the Iraqis, with this power vacuum, felt overwhelmingly insecure. For without security, there was little opportunity to give Iraqis a stake in their society, little for them to have a positive attitude. It seemed as if the Iraqis were in despair.

But this administration wouldn’t reexamine or reevaluate it’s policy. ” I just don’t know how you can operate a government if you don’t stop, reassess, and challenge your own assumptions.”

But most heart wrenching was watching this Republican’s good friend, Bush’s father, in “agony”, “anguished”, and “tormented” by the war and it’s aftermath. It was terrible. The father still wanted his son to succeed, but what a tangled relationship. In his younger years, this Republican thought that “W” could not decide whether he wanted to rebel against his father, or beat him at his own game. He chose the game and now it was an unmitigated disaster.”

So my apologies go out to Republicans. I can only ask that you too speak out against this war, so that even the most sycophantic Republican, still afraid to put one toe out of line, can finally recognize that this is not a partisan issue, it is an American survival issue.

al Basra Oil Terminal

Thanks to Chatterjee and CorpWatch for this reporting. This is one more grain of evidence that this war was fought not for the benefit of America, but for the benefit of Cheney’s stock futures which expire in 2009, well after his current term has ended. Harsh as that statement may sound on its surface, if one uses this frame of reference as a polarizer, then the “idiotic decisions” that have led this country to its current situation inside of Iraq, actually make financial and rational sense.

 

What idiotic decisions? Those very decisions that seem to prolong the war, instead of resolving it.

 

The trail starts with a map found in Cheney’s drawer showing Iraq carved up into parcels of real estate. It runs through the Energy Task Force, through his private “Iraqi reading room” in Langley Field; it continues through deliberately misleading America in the case to invade Iraq, through micromanaging the personnel decisions within Garner’s team at the onset of the Iraqi reconstruction, through the shifting of funding from successful Iraqi programs to unsuccessful ones, through his insistence of “no-bid” contracts, and now through these new revelations.

 

What was revealed six days ago was that the meters measuring the Iraqi crude now being pumped into tankers at the mouth of the Euphrates, do not work. And have not worked since the invasion in 03. The responsible party is none other than Halliburton. This supposedly quick fix, is still pending. Basically no one, no one, can monitor how much crude is leaving Iraq.

 

According to this contributor at the Stars and Stripes, a back of the envelope calculation, that every centimeter lowering of a tanker equals 6000 barrels of crude, is how business is done. A miscalculation by a couple of inches, can mean the difference of 30,000 barrels or oil or at today’s price of 75 dollars a barrel, 2 ¼ million unreported dollars.

 

If you don’t already have stock in Halliburton, you need to invest today. In fact, being a betting person, I would say the odds are good that Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Mike Castle, and every other congressperson who votes in line with Cheney on this issue, has some Halliburton hidden somewhere in their portfolio. For they are certainly not voting for the American people.

 

For if truth is to be known, as long as there is chaos in Iraq, Halliburton will continue to reap enormous profits. Ironically, it is only when we actually do succeed, and the Iraqi’s can proclaim their own self rule, will the bonanza end for all of those holding stock options in Halliburton. Ending the war early, will no doubt cost Republicans dearly, literally.