Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Flow Of Oil

Again via Lenin's Tomb, a British soldier's letter of resignation as conscientious objector in The Guardian, from which I quote two passages:

...Soldiers from my regiment tell me that much of their work in southern Iraq involves protecting convoys of oil tankers shuttling between Basra and the Kuwaiti border. Their stories have just confirmed my growing cynicism about the motives for the war. It has taken me two years to be able to say it, but I really believe that our foreign policy is being driven by the needs of US power, particularly the need to control the flow of oil.

I observed that in the monthy US foreign trade statistics, crude oil imports from Iraq moved only slightly around 20 million barrels - irrespective of blown-up pipelines. Apparently, Kuweit served as alternative port.

People have said to me that we created this mess, we should sort it out. The Iraqis need many things: they need medical supplies, they need their infrastructure rebuilt, they need jobs. The one thing they don't need is foreign troops on their streets. In fact, it is the presence of US and British troops that is creating the tension and violence, which seems certain to continue regardless of last month's elections. We have become symbols of foreign domination. That is why there is no way we can provide security. Only the Iraqis themselves can do that, and the longer we stay, the more the situation will get out of hand. We must allow the Iraqis to get on with building their own future - even if they make mistakes.

See previous post, too. And this bizzarre quote from Guardian reporter Rory McCarthy's farewell to Baghdad, a city 'beween ruthless insurgents and an unloved occupation':

Shortly after the war a quiet Iraqi from Hilla, Ali Abid Hassan, took me to a mass grave outside the town where he was supposed to have been killed and buried along with 3,000 others after the regime crushed an uprising in 1991. He was shot but crawled away to safety.

Among the reeds he showed me where it had happened. On a pathway we found the tokens of history: some vertebrae, a rib bone, one button and 11 long, creamy-brown teeth. A year later I went back and asked him about Saddam's brief appearance in court and he of all people was deeply troubled. "I couldn't bear to see him in such a miserable condition. He shouldn't be humiliated; after all he was our president. He was our father," he said. Then I asked if he thought Saddam should be punished. "He deserves the ultimate punishment. Yes, death. He executed many of us."


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