Changing the Subject: From Bush’s Mess in Mesopotamia to the Peril in Persia

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Common Dreams

Changing the Subject: From Bush’s Mess in Mesopotamia to the Peril in Persia

President Bush faces a rebellion among the American people and Congress against his call for a surge of troops that will escalate the killing in his Iraq war of choice. So Bush is now attempting to change the subject from the monumental mess of his making in Mesopotamia to an even more monstrous peril in Persia. Iraq and Iran are contemporary names for the ancient civilizations known as Mesopotamia and Persia. Bush lacks public and Congressional support to widen the war in Iraq. His oft-stated cause for war---that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction for imminent use against the U.S. and was complicit in the 9/11 attacks---has proven to be fabrication. Bush appears puppet-like under the influence of Vice-President Cheney and his cabal of neo-con warmongers, the principle architects of the imperialistic mis-adventure in Iraq. We are facing another fear driven, made-up run-up to an even more costly war against Iran to divert our attention from the debilitating debacle in Iraq that has taken such a terrible toll in lives, suffering and money, and to make more money for oil and war profiteers.

By February 1, 2007, Bush/Cheney's Iraq War had killed 3088 U.S. military personnel, 130 Brits and 123 more coalition troops. 770 U.S. civilian contractors were also killed by January 28th. Bush/Cheney's war of folly has killed about 655,000 Iraqis, according to a study led by Gilbert Burnham of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. By January 28, 2007, 23,114 U.S. military personnel had been wounded in action.

A study by Columbia University Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph E. Stiglitz, and Linda Bilmes says the total costs of the Iraq war could top $2 trillion, taking into account the long term healthcare costs for US soldiers injured in Iraq so far. "Even taking a conservative approach," the study said, referring to total war costs, "We can state, with some degree of confidence, that they exceed a trillion dollars."

U.S. oil and war profiteers are making out like bandits. On January 7, 2007 the UK Guardian reported that Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), a division of the energy and military giant Halliburton, had secured contracts in Iraq worth $13 billion including an uncontested $7 billion contract to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure. KBR has 30,000 employees in Iraq. Over 150 US companies have been given contracts in Iraq worth over $50 billion.

When oil and war profiteer-in-chief Dick Cheney was Defense Secretary, he commissioned a study for the U.S. Department of Defense by Brown and Root Services (now KBR). It recommended that private firms like Halliburton take over logistical support programs for U.S. military operations around the world. Just two years after he was Secretary of Defense, Cheney stepped through the revolving door linking the Department of Defense with defense contractors and became CEO of Halliburton. Halliburton was the principal beneficiary of Cheney's privatization efforts for our military's logistical support and Cheney was paid $44 million for five year's work with them before he slipped back through the revolving door of war profiteering to become Vice-President of the United States. Asked about the money he received from Halliburton, Cheney said. "I tell you that the government had absolutely nothing to do with it."

Before the Iraq War began, Halliburton was 19th on the U.S. Army's list of top contractors and zoomed to number 1 in 2003. In 2003, Halliburton made $4.2 billion from the U.S. government. Cheney stated he had "severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest."

In 2005, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) said Cheney's stock options which were worth $241,498 the year before and were valued at more than $8 million in 2005-- an increase of 3,281%. Cheney receives a deferred salary from the company---$205,298 in 2001; $162,392 in 2002; $178,437 in 2003; and $194,852 in 2004.

Adding to the Bush Administration's jeopardy is the on-going trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby. The former chief of staff and confidante of Cheney faces perjury charges in federal court in D.C. Cheney will testify--- the first time a sitting vice president has testified under oath in a criminal proceeding. The case involves attempts by Cheney, Libby and the Bush Administration to discredit a former Ambassador to Niger, Joseph Wilson, by outing his wife, Valerie Plame, a CIA agent. Wilson challenged the Administration's made-up charge that Saddam Hussein purchased weapons grade uranium from Niger in a New York Times op.ed. Testimony has focused attention on the central role played by Cheney in the administration's efforts to suppress political opposition to the war in Iraq.

Cheney pulls the strings and Bush hypes war with Iran, where Halliburton secretly worked with one of Iran's top nuclear program officials on natural gas related projects and sold the officials' oil development company key components for a nuclear reactor. On August 5, 2005, Jason Leopold a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal wrote that during Cheney's tenure as CEO from 1995 to 2000, Halliburton Products and Services set up shop in Iran. The off-shore Halliburton subsidiary did approximately $40 million a year worth of oil field service work for the Iranian government.

As Exxon-Mobil reported the largest profits ever for a U.S. corporation in 2006 --$39 billion--or $4.5 million a minute, international scientists and climate experts on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued an urgent warning that there is a 90% certainty that the human activity of over-consumption of fossil fuel is causing global warming.

Let's change the subject to oil and war profiteering and hold Bush/Cheney accountable.

Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and peace activist in Columbia, SC. His blog is http://tomandjudyonablog.blogspot.com/

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