I had the questionable “priviledge” again yesterday of listening to the Saturday rebroadcast of “Richard Land live” while waiting in the car as my wife and daughters shopped. Richard Land is the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention, a minister, and as much of a political animal as anybody you’ve ever met! He has thrown his lot in with George W. Bush and the Republicans all in the name of his perverted interpretation of Christianity.

(cont’d below)
Dr. Land said “We are winning, we are winning, we are winning in Iraq.” Dr. Land is a liar! We are not winning in Iraq. He cited an AP poll and two stories which didn’t even make the front page of the right wing Washington Times! Of course, in his distorted worldview, he talked about the Washington Times not putting these stories on their front page as indicative of the SCLM (so-called liberal media) not publicizing “good news” from Iraq. This is a right wing newspaper! The poll he cited said 66% of Iraqis are optimistic about their future while only 33% of Americans are. In fairness, few Iraqis long for the return of Saddam – although little evidence has surfaced so far to connect Saddam with the 1982 massacre he is being charged with. But Iraqis do long for stability and security. However, remember that they fought for Saddam (and Iraq) for eight long years against Iran. The current violence no where near approaches the level of violence in the Iran-Iraq war. Therefore, we should not underestimate the ability of Iraqis to wage a protracted insurgency against a foreign occupier. That is us in case you need to be told this fact.

Richard Land’s claims notwithstanding – the war in Iraq isn’t going well. It is almost 3 years old and soon the upfront costs of ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the so-called GWOT (Global War on Terror) will be $440 billion. Recent revelations pointed to corruption of the CPA (Coalition Provision Authority) under Paul Bremer where billions are unaccounted for. The CPA was followed by the interim government of Iyad Allawi (appointed by the U.S. as Prime Minister). That government was also corrupt. The present government of Ibrahim Al-Jafarri is also corrupt, and the government elected back on December 15th has yet to be formed.

Below is a story of ongoing corruption. This story shows that Iraq’s oil revenues are being diverted to fund the insurgency. Now, even assuming that the insurgency is finally extinguished (a proposition I find extremely unlikely) it remains highly probable that Iraq will disintegrate into sectarian violence (read civil war) nevertheless. So you can take the word of a right wing evangelical minister, Dr. Richard Land, that everything in Iraq is on track if we only “stay the course”, or you can take it from a rank amateur like me that the war in Iraq has not accomplished its stated objectives and will never accomplish the stated objectives. This is a failed policy. The best option for the United States is to leave Iraq …. to the Irais. US OUT NOW!

Oil Graft Fuels the Insurgency, Iraq and U.S. Say

Oil Graft Fuels the Insurgency, Iraq and U.S. Say

By ROBERT F. WORTH and JAMES GLANZ
The New York Times

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 4 — Iraqi and American officials say they are seeing a troubling pattern of government corruption enabling the flow of oil money and other funds to the insurgency and threatening to undermine Iraq’s struggling economy.

In Iraq, which depends almost exclusively on oil for its revenues, the officials say that any diversion of money to an insurgency that is killing its citizens and tearing apart its infrastructure adds a new and menacing element to the challenge of holding the country together.

In one example, a sitting member of the Iraqi National Assembly has been indicted in the theft of millions of dollars meant for protecting a critical oil pipeline against attacks and is suspected of funneling some of that money to the insurgency, said Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, the chairman of Iraq’s Commission on Public Integrity. The indictment has not been made public.

The charges against the Sunni lawmaker, Meshaan al-Juburi, are far from the only indication that the insurgency is profiting from Iraq’s oil riches.

On Saturday, the director of a major oil storage plant near Kirkuk was arrested with other employees and several local police officials, and charged with helping to orchestrate a mortar attack on the plant on Thursday, a Northern Oil Company employee said. The attack resulted in devastating pipeline fires and a shutdown of all oil operations in the area, said the employee, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Ali Allawi, Iraq’s finance minister, estimated that insurgents reap 40 percent to 50 percent of all oil-smuggling profits in the country. Offering an example of how illicit oil products are kept flowing on the black market, he said that the insurgency had infiltrated senior management positions at the major northern refinery in Baiji and routinely terrorized truck drivers there. This allows the insurgents and their confederates to tap the pipeline, empty the trucks and sell the oil or gas themselves.

“It’s gone beyond Nigeria levels now where it really threatens national security,” Mr. Allawi said of the oil industry. “The insurgents are involved at all levels.”

American officials here echo that view. …

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