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6068Re: How Fairs the Night?

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  • holderlin66
    Aug 9, 2004
      Monday 09 August 2004


      "I sat with a photographer from Reuters who had just returned from a
      six-month tour of Iraq. He had been tagging along with the Kellogg
      Brown & Root operation, subsidiary of Halliburton, and saw
      everything there was to see. He went from new military base to new
      military base, from the oil work in the north and back to the south,
      observing how busy were the contactors for Halliburton.

      "I feel like I compromised every one of my principles by even being
      over there," he told me after the story had been spun out a bit. His
      eyes, which had seen too many things through the lens of his camera,
      were haunted.

      "It was two years ago that talk about invading Iraq began to
      circulate. Reasons for the invasion were bandied about - they had
      weapons of mass destruction, they had a hand in September 11, they
      will welcome us as liberators - but it wasn't until the Project for
      the New American Century got dragged into the discussion that an
      understanding of the true motives behind all this became apparent.

      "As for the corporate takeover of the Iraqi oil industry, that has
      become the prime mission of the American soldiers engaged there.
      Kellogg Brown & Root also does a tidy business in the oil-
      infrastructure repair market. "The troops aren't hunting terrorists
      or building a country," said the Reuters photographer. "All they do
      is guard the convoys running north and south. The convoys north are
      carrying supplies and empty tankers for the oil fields around Mosul
      and Tikrit. The convoys south bring back what they pull out of the
      ground up there. That's where all these kids are getting killed.
      They get hit with IEDs while guarding these convoys, and all hell
      breaks loose."

      "That last goal, about overthrowing other regimes in the region,
      hasn't been as easy to follow through on as the PNAC boys might have
      hoped. The Iraqi people are fighting back, and the small-by-
      comparison force Rumsfeld said would be enough to do the job can't
      seem to pacify the country. Perhaps that is because too many troops
      are dedicated to guarding the oil supply lines. More likely,
      however, it is because of the sincere belief among the Iraqi people
      that they have been conquered - not 'liberated' but conquered - and
      their conquerors don't give a tinker's damn whether they live or

      "The Americans over there have all these terms for people who aren't
      Americans," the Reuters photographer said. "The Iraqi people are
      called LPs, or 'Local Personnel.' They get killed all the time, but
      it's like, 'Some LPs got killed,' so it isn't like real people died.
      Iraqi kids run along the convoys, hoping a soldier will throw them
      some food or water, and sometimes they get crushed by the trucks.
      Nothing stops, those are the orders, so some LPs get killed and the
      convoy keeps rolling. The labels make it easier for them to die. The
      people are depersonalized. No one cares."

      "Everyone is an 'insurgent' over there," the photographer told
      me. "That's another label with no meaning. Everyone is against the
      Americans. There is a $250,000 bounty on the head of every Westerner
      over there, mine too, while I was there. The Americans working the
      oil industry over there are the dumbest, most racist jackasses I've
      ever seen in my life. That's the American face on this thing, and
      the Iraqi people see it."

      The soldiers over there are hip to the jive at this point. Michael
      Hoffman, a Marine corporal in artillery, was part of the original
      March invasion. Before Hoffman's unit shipped out, his battery first
      sergeant addressed all the enlisted men. "Don't think you're going
      to be heroes," said Hoffman's sergeant. "You're not going over there
      because of weapons of mass destruction. You're not going there to
      get rid of Saddam Hussein, or to make Iraq safe for democracy.
      You're going there for one reason and one reason alone: Oil."

      "The Reuters photographer I spoke to couldn't get any soldiers to
      talk about how they felt when surrounded by their fellow
      soldiers. "They don't talk in the ranks, or just about anywhere on
      base," he said. "You have to go out to the latrine area, to the Port-
      O-Potties. For some reason, they talk there. You can read how they
      really feel - all the anti-Bush stuff, all the wanting to go home -
      in the writing on the shithouse walls."
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