Saturday, October 18, 2003

President's Iraq package passed
The $87 billion Iraqi reconstruction bill was approved yesterday, with some minor stipulations: ["Congress OKs $87 billion request"]. The argument will be over whether the nation will have to pay back part of $20 billion that will be used for infrastructure, from future oil production. Here is a question: Will these oil sales go back to the American people or will some corporation mine the oil, mark it up, and then transfer the money back to our government with a healthy profit? We keep hearing about how the oil belongs to "the Iraqi people," yet I doubt any of them will see the money. Do the American people see money from our oil, our minerals, our national resources? Sure, pennies on the dollar in federal land rights and some taxes which isn't much when you consider the amount of profits.
Here is another interesting point from article:

The House earlier Friday accepted an amendment by Reps. Jim Ramstad, R-Minn., and Dennis Moore, D-Kan., to shift $98 million from Iraq reconstruction to help troops on leave pay for their trips home. For the first time since the Vietnam War, the military is giving service members with 12 months in the field in Iraq or Afghanistan a 15-day home leave. But after flying into the port of entry in this country, they must pay for the rest of theirs trip out of their own pockets and are "too often stranded at the airport, nowhere near their homes or families," Ramstad said. The Senate approved similar language early in its debate.

So, the government sends our troops - many of whom are not active duty but national guardsmen - into war and then, the soldiers have to pay their own way back home? How insane is that? Again, this is an administration that supposedly supports the military? Can you imagine the outrage there would have been had they pulled this stunt in 'Nam? There would be protests in the street. Where are you now, baby-boomer protesters? Busy waving flags and talking about your support of the troops while they are stuck somewhere in the middle of nowhere trying to get home? Gosh!
More about the specifics:

There was little controversy over the bulk of the emergency spending package, $66 billion to sustain U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Debate centered on the money to restore economic and political stability in Iraq, which in the House bill included $793 million for health care programs, $2.8 billion for potable drinking water, $217 million for border security, $5.65 billion for electricity generation and $2.1 billion to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure.

So, almost $1 billion for health care while 50 million Americans don't have health care and you are labeled a socialist if you support helping these Americans. Billions for drinking water? Okay, not a problem, since two different wars - sponsored by two Republican administrations and crafted by rightwing think tanks - have polluted their water with depleted uranium bullets and missiles which eventually led to the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens. Border security will help to protect the soldiers but they shouldn't be there! We should be spending this money protecting our porous borders from illegal alien invasions or new terrorist attacks. And almost $8 billion for electricity and oil infrastructure? OK, we bombed them - we should rebuild it. But when is all this going to stop? If we never invaded, we wouldn't have to do any of this now. These billions could have been spent on our electricity grid or on tax breaks for hybrid cars which would help to limit our oil use and keep us out of these stupid wars.

Kennedy praises Bush 41
In his speech coming out against the $87 billion, Sen. Ted Kennedy praised the former president for writing about the problems America would have overthrowing Saddam Hussein in 1991:

"Here is what they wrote: 'Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in 'mission creep,' and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible...We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, there was no viable 'exit strategy' we could see...Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome.' They were right."

The entire speech, sans the usual Kennedy garbling, is posted on Common Dreams: ["On the Administration's Failure to Provide a Realistic, Specific Plan to Bring Stability to Iraq"].