“Let me just note for the record Mr. chairman that I did vote with the Democrat’s alternative suggestion that a certain amount of oil revenue in the future by Iraq should be dedicated to paying back the expenses of the United States government for what we have expended… ” Representative Dana Rohrbacher, a Republican from California, declared boldly. I was flabbergasted from the audacity of the gang of thieves in Washington. This was an excerpt from the House Foreign Affairs Joint Subcommittee hearing on Iraq oil reconstruction, held on Wednesday July 18th 2007. You can watch it here, or search for it on www.c-span.org.
I was driving to a soccer game and listening to C-SPAN. Proper etiquette won’t allow me to write here the choice words that I screamed at my radio upon hearing that harangue. At least, it got me fired up enough to run nonstop for an hour. Only Hajiagha with his raunchy cartoons could do justice to the hoard running this masquerade.
I should give a little background information. The US government basically wrote a draft law for Iraq’s government to pass setting up the rules and regulations for awarding contracts on Iraq’s oil and gas resources and industry. This law basically opens up Iraq for the taking. It puts in legal framework for rape of Iraq. The passage of this law has been included as one of the benchmarks for Iraq government to achieve in order to show progress in Iraq. This subcommittee was reviewing progress on passing this law. One could say this law is the Holy Grail of the Iraq invasion for Bush administration and the very symbol of the War for Oil.
The session started with a review of the current situation. Iraq’s oil production is far below the pre-war levels. In addition, 100,000 to 300,000 barrels of oil go unaccounted for in Iraq every day. Overall, $5,000,000 to $50,000,000 of Iraq’s national wealth is stolen each day (I’m writing all the zeros to let the number sink in.) Who is stealing it? Well, the jokers in this subcommittee seemed to think the culprits are bandits and Iraqi resistance siphoning it from oil pipelines and installations. I get the ludicrous image of a bunch of Iraqis with hoses siphoning 100,000 barrels of oil each day!
Now, I know that the members of US congress are not elected for their IQs or their abilities at deductive reasoning, but this is ridiculous. The resistance in Iraq actually has the means and ability to steal at least 100,000 barrels of oil per day!? Only a fool would buy that, but then we’re talking about the Congress. This is gang rape of Iraq by the oil companies. No one is looking, so they’re taking!
To add to the open theft of Iraq, it seems that the policy makers have their priorities screwed up. Actually, since Iraqi lives mean nothing, they’re simply pushing forward with their agenda. Joseph Christoff, an expert from the Government Accountability Office, stated an example of improvement in Iraq’s oil situation: the price of gas has gone up from $0.05 per gallon in September of 2005 to $1.20 per gallon! He said Iraqis are now paying “fair market value” per International Monetary Fund recommendations, and this should stymie oil smuggling. That is, if Iraqis can survive the drive from their homes to the gas station.
I should point out that the poster child for IMF policy was Argentina. The Argentine government adhered strictly to the policies recommended by IMF and the result was the disastrous economic meltdown of 2001. It was only after tossing out IMF policies and following economic regulations exactly opposite of the recommendations of IMF that the Argentine economy began to recover. Argentina is not a singular case of the consequences of IMF policies. I suppose this is a glimpse of what’s in store for Iraq’s economy.
An issue that seemed to be high on everyone’s mind in this subcommittee was the general “perception” that the invasion of Iraq was about oil!!! If you still have to ask that question, you must be a Congressman. Rep. Rohrabacher effectively clarified that issue. He ended the session by asking if the Chinese were getting any contracts, and if the Iraqi government was honoring any pre-Saddam contracts made with China. He wanted to make sure the American companies are not treated as bad as the Chinese. After all, the Chinese did not invade Iraq and turn the country upside down, so why should they get paid for it!? He topped off his nuggets of wisdom by expressing his hope that “the people of Iraq would be mindful that this is a great cost to the United States.” Of course, he is correct. But the cost to Iraqis is not worth mentioning. In short, he is demanding payment for the bombs and bullets that were used to fill up Iraq’s morgues and destroy her.
I will be fairer to Rep. Rohrabacher than he is to Iraq. First, it’s not just him or the Republicans. He voted along with the Democrats. Second, it’s not an American quality either. This is a characteristic of imperialism. The example that came to my mind was France and Haiti. When Haiti was finally gaining its independence from France, the French government demanded “compensation” (more like ransom) of 150,000,000 gold francs for the financial loss of the French plantation slave-owners. The United States supported France. Haiti paid this ransom over a 100 year period with enormous consequences for Haitians. Haiti is now demanding the restitution of this ransom for over $21,000,000,000 at 5% annual interest! And, it didn’t end there. Jacques Chirac’s government supported the US backed coup that overthrew Aristide’s government in 2004 and plunged Haiti into another round of death and misery.
It appears that the US government has been a decent pupil when it comes to imperialism. And, so it goes in Washington. As the mask of democracy peels off, the visage of imperialism greets the world?