Friday, April 13, 2007

Thoughts About Iraq

Senator McCain says progress is being made in Iraq; things are better. Yet ordinary citizens interviewed on the streets -- in general -- disagree. So does the International Red Cross who just this week released a report stating the lives of ordinary Iraqis are worse than ever: lack of doctors, medical care, food, safe drinking water, electricity --- and above all the violence caused by lack of security. Parents keeping their children at home because they are afraid they will be killed taking their kids to school. Many are saying they were better off under Sadam!

Senator McCain said that he felt safe taking a brief stroll around a part of Baghdad. Could his feelings be due to the armor vest he was wearing, the one hundred U.S. soldiers guarding him, and the three U.S. helicopters flying over head?

When are we going to face reality: the invasion was unjustified, the aftermath has been a disaster. The main reason for Bush and Cheney wanting to "surge" is that they hope to "save face". It's all about the EGO. Saving face for the administration and for the GOP.

I have not heard any talk about truly rebuilding Iraq. Forget most of what we have rebuilt already: it is shoddy, inappropriate and we the taxpayers have been paying into the pockets of Halliburton, its many subsidiaries, and "friends" These companies are war profiteers: soaking Americans with overcharges, poor work, and funny bookkeeping or simply no real records at all. Iraq has been a feast for these corporate vultures. And their contracts with the government were almost all "no bid". And, as far as I know, most of their owners and directors are friends of the administration.

One figure I saw recently that there are 100,000 non-military persons(civilians working for private contractors in Iraq. What are they doing? Whatever it is -- the quality of work and the costs are reprehensible.

Blackwater Corporation founded by a right wing fundamentalist Christian and avid supporter of neo-con Republican ideology supplies mercenaries to protect the private corporations "working" in Iraq. Another example of war profiteering. Many of these "soldiers" are paid $960. a day. Maybe this isn't so exorbitant since I have heard stories about how poorly equipped they are in some of the "missions" they perform. Right now the parents of some of these mercenaries are suing Blackwater because they claim their sons were sent on missions without armored vehicles, with out sufficient men and suffered unnecessary causalities. How can they sue? There were contracts these "soldiers" signed and the suits state that the contracts were violated.

When our nation declares war, this is a national decision. War should not be privatized! To the extent we rely on mercenaries, to the extent we privatize war--we make war a business for profit. Our nation will become dependent on private companies to help us wage war. Those who profit will be pushing the nation into wars because they know there is money to be made.

Would our elected representatives have given Bush a "blank check" to wage war if we did NOT have a volunteer army? What if we relied on the draft? Americans have not felt the pain of this war as they would --- if there had been a draft lottery. Most of our volunteer armed forces come from rural America, from small towns that are shrinking, that cannot provide much opportunity for their sons and daughters. And, the rest of the military is largely from poor urban areas: blacks, hispanics. Joining the military is a way of finding a job --- since so many decent paying jobs have left America for China, India, Mexico, etc.

What if Americans each month received a bill from the U.S. government for the costs of the war? This would bring home the fact that not only war take human lives (and not just our people) but spends money at horrific rates that deprives Americans of their quality of life: health care, education, infrastructure.

I believe that many of the people who are in power see war not as a terrible
enterprise, but as a way to stimulate the economy, get the people's minds off
domestic problems, and to make lots of money for corporate friends.