We were all a little bit suspicious when the administration wouldn’t release the names of the people who were on the Vice President’s Energy Task Force. We were even more suspicious when Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates government corruption, had to file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in order to get documents used in the task force meetings. Then we were confused on March 5, 2002, when a U.S. district court judge ordered that documents be produced and within them were maps of, and charts relating to, Iraqi oil fields.

Then it all came together when President George W. Bush conflated the issues of terrorism and Iraq, constructed a story about weapons of mass destruction and led the country into a war responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 civilians, according to Lancet Medical Journal, and more than 1,000 U.S. troops.

In his infamous ultimatum speech in March 2003, the President said, “All Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people.” This is an interesting statement, given a June 2004 report by Christian Aid, an international humanitarian organization based in the UK, indicates that billions of dollars of the Iraqi people’s wealth had disappeared. This report was later vindicated by an official U.S. audit that indicated that approximately $9 billion of Iraqi oil money cannot be accounted for.

This came as a result of mismanagement by the Coalition Provisional Authority, led by Ambassador L. Paul Bremer. It would seem fitting that he be reprimanded for allowing $9 billion to disappear on his watch. Instead, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Then, the administration attempted to convince the world that pre-emptive wars against countries that turned out to not have WMD to begin with would cause other nations that had mass destruction aspirations to give them up.

Then, on December 19, 2003, Libya announced that it would dismantle its WMD program. Without the administration’s spin, this would not have been such a big deal. Libya had offered to do this on at least two previous occasions, and their weapons program was a failure.

On February 10, 2005, the Economist magazine reported that, after the sanctions were lifted, American-based oil firms jumped right in. “Three – Occidental, Amerada Hess, ChevronTexaco – won 11 of 15 contracts up for grabs,” it wrote. “Eager for a foothold after an absence of two decades – due to American sanctions lifted last year after Libya’s ruler Muammar Qaddafi quit the axis of evil – they evidently outbid their already established European rivals.”

Interestingly, while Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO, Halliburton continued to trade with Libya, through foreign subsidiaries, without regard for U.S. trade sanctions.

Somehow, the Republicans have convinced themselves that Iraq was a humanitarian war. I have suggested in the past that the real humanitarian gain was the lifting of our sanctions, which Amnesty International estimates is responsible for the deaths of half a million Iraqis. However, humanitarianism by coincidence and not by design is tainted by ulterior motives and allows human rights abuses instead of preventing them.

If this administration has humanitarian concerns, it should re-evaluate its position on the Sudan genocide. Two million people are displaced, 100,000 are dead and 10,000 more die every month. In a recent New York Times editorial, Nicholas Kristof insightfully asked, “What kind of a ‘culture of life’ is it that allows us to shrug as Sudanese soldiers heave children onto bonfires?”

Perhaps the Bush administration will change its position on Sudan. We should expect this because recently, rebel groups within Darfur demanded that the Sudanese government stop oil exploration until the genocide has ended. Apparently, Sudan has an abundant supply of oil. This is problematic because it adds fuel to the fire of the conflict. This has not stopped multinational oil corporations from continuing their operations in Darfur. I would be willing to bet that if there were a serious threat to suspending oil exploration in Darfur, all of the sudden the United States and the international community would find a way to end the genocide. Only when the streets are flowing with oil instead of blood will this administration find it necessary to act.

Morosi can be reached at mmorosi@campustimes.org.



During midterm season, prioritize UR health in advance

It’s been three weeks since classes started, and if you’re like us here at the Campus Times, you’re sick and tired.

Birding club takes flight

Birding Club has realized what the vast majority of onlookers have known for quite some time: These birds are fucking lame.

Actual comedy at the Winterfest comedy night

This time, unlike last year’s Winterfest interview with Pete Davidson, each guest performed about a half hour of stand-up comedy with little to no heckling of any kind.