“We’re in Iraq today because our goal has always been more than the removal of a brutal dictator. It is to leave a free and democratic Iraq in his place.” -George W. Bush
It’s been twelve years…and 9/11 seems like yesterday. As we watched Bush’s “Shock and Awe” bombing of Baghdad on our television sets so long ago, we were told over and over how careful our military was with their really cool new weaponry that could target so precisely— they could hit a lunchbox. And remember? All the lights were on in Baghdad. To the Pentagon, it was one of their finest hours. The lights were kept on so we could all watch the cars going up and down the highway, and big explosions at the same time.
So cool. Real entertainment…LIVE! Watch the almighty American bombs..and the caring President who only wants to destroy the really bad guys! Our compassionate new leader!
But, when the camera’s left… the lights did go off. And one of the reasons we were having such a hard time winning “hearts and minds” for democracy in Iraq, was how slow we were getting the lights back on. If you are going to win “hearts and minds” it helps if you give them air- conditioning.
According to Herbert Docena, who writes in the book, Nation Building…the fault lies in how our government handed out the contracts for rebuilding.
The money has flowed from the U.S. government to top-heavy, cash-rich American companies, who are providing needed technical expertise, but none is reaching the average Iraqi reconstruction ministries. For years after the shock caused such great awe, the Iraq’s suffered from power interruptions lasting on average of 16 hours a day. During the day, some 12 million unemployed hung out at the Green Zone looking for work. On top of that there was uncollected garbage, sewage, and general chaos.
Okay, we all expected that….but here’s something that you may not have known.
To get the electric back on, the electric turbines, which had been made by French, Russian, and Japanese manufacturing companies…needed to be fixed. Instead of just finding the parts from Russia or Japan, to replace the spare parts needed, the contractors bid for building new billion dollar power generators themselves. The parts missing would have cost a few hundred dollars.
In other words, instead of getting them what they needed to put the electric back on, Bechtels the contract holder, decided that he would get up to $20 billion dollars worth of construction contracts paid by the taxpayers for the next few years.
This also meant that there was limited electricity to run the oil refineries. The Iraq oil couldn’t be refined, so the US exported Iraq crude oil under a Halliburton subsidiary, which imported gasoline from Turkey and Kuwait.
In other words, the Halliburton subsidiary KBR (Kellogg, Brown, and Root) was charging the US government more than twice what other were paying for imported gasoline, some $61 million in overcharges. Not getting the electric back on worked very well for hired contractors. If they got the oil up and running in Iraq, KBR would not make any more money importing the oil.
All the while…our boys were getting maimed by homemade IED’s.
There is a reason we have spent trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s called good old American greed, and as we have seen, we are still sending our boys over there to be killed…because somebody needs to protect the contractors. I heard a general just last week on Fox try to reassure Bret Baier that the middle East would still be open for business.
Gee…that’s nice. I’ll just go and get my camel.
Nobody is against oil companies making big profits, but not at the expense of the American citizen. This seems to prove that our government is now run by corporations: whether it’s Bush’s Halliburton, or Obama’s GE. Once again, the rich got richer off this war in Iraq, and the taxpayers footed the bill. Bankers, contractors…politicians…they love each other. Follow the dollar-brick- road. Obama said he’d stop the war, but he didn’t. He hasn’t. We are still there training our enemies.
Even Rumsfeld couldn’t account for literally billions of dollars that went missing in Iraq. He stood on a podium one day, said they couldn’t find the missing billions, and that’s all that was said, and then it was …okay.
You and I could not pay the IRS a few thousand dollars or we’d be put in Jail, not these guys. They all belong to the “get- out- of -jail free” mile high club—where you can have cocktails before your swim in the biggest swimming pool, in the biggest embassy in the World, and then go get your piece of the American pie.
In his book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, Peter Van Buren, a career officer who worked on “rebuilding” Iraq, wrote this:
An unnamed ambassador demands to grow grass on the Embassy grounds in the green zone. When the seeds didn’t take, he imported sod from Kuwait, “brought by armored convoy to the Embassy. No one confessed to what it cost to import, but estimates varied between two and five million dollars.
Van Buren couldn’t even count all the fraudulent waste.
He remembers, for example, offering a free seedling to an Iraqi farmer, who “spat on the ground and said, ‘You killed my son, and now you are giving me a tree?’” An American farmer who lost a son in the war, could pretty much say the very same thing.
Nobody suggests they get the parts for the turbines in Iraq going, and the US should start pumping out oil for ourselves from Iraq.
Oh…that contract went to China!
Let me get this straight: Our boys died and we spent over 3 trillion dollars stabilizing Iraq, with US blood and money so that China could come in and take the oil?
Nobody Wonders: Who made this deal? Because..it was China that got the victory. And now the Commander-in-Chief is cutting the medical care to the boys who so bravely went to fight. Obama, is an obmination of a man, for this one act alone. And don’t tell me I should respect the “office.” Nobody is going to address that “logic” in another blog.
Nobody Thinks it’s time our government starts trying to win the “hearts and minds” of its own people….before…we lose both.