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What Congress Really Voted For: Benchmark #1: Privatizing Iraqi Oil for US Oil Companies
By Ann Wright, US Army Reserves Colonel, Retired.
Thursday, May 24 the US Congress voted to continue the war on Iraq. They called it “supporting the troops.” I call it stealing Iraq’s oil-the second largest oil reserves in the world. The “benchmark” or goal the Bush administration has been working on furiously since the US invaded Iraq is the privatization of Iraqi oil. Now they have the US Congress blackmailing the Iraqi Parliament and Iraqi people: no privatization of Iraqi oil, no reconstruction funds.
This threat could not be clearer. If the Iraqi Parliament refuses to pass the privatization legislation, the US Congress will withhold US reconstruction funds promised to the Iraqis to rebuild what the United States has destroyed in Iraq. The privatization law, written by American oil company consultants hired by the Bush administration, would leave the control of only 17 of 80 known oil fields with the Iraq National Oil Company. The remainder (two-thirds) of known oil fields and all yet undiscovered oil fields would be up for grabs by the private oil companies of the world (but guess how many would go to the United States firms given to them by the compliant Iraqi government.)
No other nation in the Middle East has privatized its oil. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Iran give only limited usage contracts to international oil companies for one or two years. The $12 billion dollar “Support the Troops” legislation US Congress passed requires Iraq, in order to get reconstruction funds from the United States, to privatize its oil resources and put them up for long term (20-30 year) contracts.
What does this “Support the Troops” legislation mean for the United States military? Supporting our troops has nothing to do with this bill, other than keeping them there for another 30 years to protect US oil interests. It means that every military service member will need Arabic language training. It means that every soldier and marine would spend most of his or her career in Iraq. It means that the fourteen permanent bases will get new Taco Bells and Burger Kings! Why? Because the US military will be protecting the US corporate oilfields leased to US companies by the compliant Iraqi government. Our troops will be the guardians of US corporate interests in Iraq for the life of the contracts, for the next thirty years.
With the Bush administration’s “Support the Troops” bill and its benchmarks, primarily Benchmark #1, we finally have the reason for the US invasion of Iraq: to get the easily accessible, cheap, high-grade Iraqi oil for US corporations.
Now the choice is for US military personnel and their families to decide whether they want their loved ones to be physically and emotionally injured to protect, not our national security, but the financial security of the biggest corporate barons left in our country—the oil companies.
It’s a choice for only our military families because most non-military Americans do not really care whether our volunteer military spends its time protecting corporate oil to fuel our one-person cars. Of course, when a tornado, hurricane, flood or other natural disaster hits in our hometowns, we want our National Guard unit back. But on a normal day, who remembers the 180,000 US military or the 150,000 US contractors in Iraq?
Since the “Surge” began in January, over 500 Americans and 15,000 Iraqis have been killed. By the time September, 2007 rolls around for the administration’s review of the “surge plan,” another 400 Americans will be dead as well as another 12,000 Iraqis.
How much more can our military and their families take?
About the author: Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army and US Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She served 16 years in the US diplomatic corps in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Micronesia and Mongolia. She resigned from the US Department of State in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.