The latest piece of brilliant military strategy from the White House is a smaller more long term U.S. occupying force in Iraq. I, like many citizens who were opposed to this war in the first place, am constantly concerned with how the U.S. will clean up the mess we’ve left in Iraq. According to the Washington Post our Commander and Chief and the U.S. military are concerned with similar issues. “A reduction of troops, some officials argue, would demonstrate to anti-American factions that the occupation will not last forever while reassuring Iraqi allies that the United States does not intend to abandon the country” (Military Envisions Longer Stay in Iraq June 10, 2007). The article goes on to impress upon us: the inability to withdraw U.S. troops in a timely manner, the importance of training Iraqi troops, and protecting the fledgling Iraqi government.
These all seem like important, viable goals. But, it is important to realize that we are not dealing with an administration that is primarily concerned with the welfare of humanity. We cannot fall into a trap of negligence of our own, most recent, history. On Thursday, May 24, the US Congress voted to continue the war in Iraq. Among the numerous points meted out in this piece of legislation is the privatization of Iraqi oil.
“If the Iraqi Parliament refuses to pass the privatization legislation, Congress will withhold US reconstruction funds that were promised to the Iraqis to rebuild what the United States has destroyed there. The privatization law, written by American oil company consultants hired by the Bush administration, would leave control with the Iraq National Oil Company for only 17 of the 80 known oil fields. The remainder (two-thirds)of known oil fields, and all yet undiscovered ones, would be up for grabs by the private oil companies of the world (but guess how many would go to United States firms – given to them by the compliant Iraqi government.)” Anne Wright, TruthOut Editorial, May 26, 2007.
Ms. Wright goes on to explain these private contracts are slated to last up to 30 years. Our extended occupation may very well extend for another 30 years so our troops can protect the vital interests of the oil companies.
I, personally, would like to see a longer term international presence in Iraq; but, my goal is not oil. I am concerned about the long term needs of Iraqi refugees. I am concerned about rebuilding roads and schools. I am concerned about bringing sectarian rivals to the table to discuss the future of democracy in Iraq. I am especially concerned that revenue from Iraqi oil be distributed equally among the Iraqi people. I fear this will never happen because the Bush administration is leading the way for neo-colonialism in the Middle East. I am concerned that we, as citizens of this world, remain complacent.