By The Progressive on June 13, 2007
June 13, 2007 By Matthew Rothschild

With Iraq going to hell, and the al-Maliki government failing to meet one benchmark after another, Bush is getting desperate.

On Sunday, he sent Admiral Fallon, the chief U.S. commander in the Mideast, to lean on Prime Minister al-Maliki.

On Tuesday, John Negroponte, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and the UN, flew to Baghdad to lean on al-Maliki.

And what were they leaning on him for, above all?

Passage of the new oil bill, which would turn over Iraqi’s liquid treasure to foreign corporations like ExxonMobil.

This is the paramount concern of the Bush Administration.

It is being sold to the American people as a way to equalize revenues to various segments of Iraqi society.

But the true reason for it is to line the pockets of U.S. oil executives.

“The law would transform Iraq’s oil industry from a nationalized model closed to American oil companies except for limited (although highly lucrative) marketing contracts into a commercial industry, all-but-privatized, that is fully open to all international oil companies,” Antonia Juhasz, author of “The Bush Agenda,” wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times on March 13.

“The Iraq National Oil Company would have exclusive control of just 17 of Iraq’s 80 known oil fields, leaving two-thirds of known—and all of its as yet undiscovered—fields open to foreign control,” Juhasz wrote. “The foreign companies would not have to invest their earnings in the Iraqi economy, partner with Iraqi companies, hire Iraqi workers or share new technologies. . . The international oil companies could also be offered some of the most corporate-friendly contracts in the world.”

Not surprisingly, the Iraqi people don’t want their oil privatized. They’ve been resisting this move in parliament, and in the streets.

Iraq’s oil unions have been leading this resistance movement, holding demonstrations and waging strikes, as recently as June 4 in Basra.

So bothered by this is the Bush Administration that it ordered U.S. fighter jets to circle over and buzz the demonstrators, according to labor journalist David Bacon.

Bush is at least consistent, though.

He’s still working for the oil industry, and he’s anti-union here, and he’s anti-union there.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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