Monday, October 09, 2006

Iraq for Sale

For those of you on Guam who have a nagging suspicion that everything is going to hell in Iraq, you are definitely right.

But if your explaination for the quagmire is some ridiculous Samual Hunginton "clash of civilizations" argument about the pathological infection of Muslims with islamofacism, then know this, your explainations are just stupid racist patriotic defenses, meant to absolve the United States of its incredible role in producing a civil war in that country.

A more useful and important explaination for the violence in Iraq can be found in the film Iraq for Sale which chronicles the incredible government and corporate corruption and incompetence that lies at the center of the reconstruction in Iraq. The level of corruption and abuse of power in awarding contracts and in rebuilding Iraq as well as supporting the troops there reached such insane levels that it makes the alleged corruption of Carl Guiterrez, Joseph Ada, Ricardo Bordallo, Paul Calvo and Carlos Camacho look like taking an accidental extra soda that drops down out of a vending machine. The amount of money that corporations cheated out of the government is in the tens of billions!

At one point military and civilians attended the same public schools on Guam. In response to the waste and inefficiency of the Government of Guam in running a school system, the military pulled its money out of DOE and started their own schools on Guam. Its interesting to compare the quagmire of corruption in Guam and that in Iraq. Despite the fact that companies such as Haliburton were overcharging the US government millions of dollars and receiving billions of dollars in contracts for substandard or sometimes just plain illegal services (the interrogators at Abu Ghraib were private contractors), there was never any discussion of cancelling the contracts with companies such as CACI, KBR, Haliburton or Titan. Do you want to know the level of graft in Iraq? Kellog Brown and Root was charging the Department of Defense as mush as $100 dollars to wash a bag of clothes, $40 for a six pack of soda, and if a truck every broke down, instead of being fixed, it would be destroyed and the government charged for a new truck.

There are other reasons to connect Guam to the war in Iraq, other than interesting comparisions. Guam plays a big role in the stomping the United States does around the world, and so if you are anti-war and want a more peaceful world, then you have to connect the dots and see Guam as a vital place whereby the US asserts its control in Asia and the Pacific.

But for those who want to know more about the corruption and waste I have just discussed you are in luck. On the 12th of October there will be a screening of Iraq For Sale at the RFK library, AV room 1, at 2 pm.

Here is a note from the organizer Jakobe Illich, "Iraq for Sale, will be shown during the week of October 8th through 14th, during "People over Profit week" nationwide. I also would hope to use the gathering of like minded people to form some type of mobilization committee. Although Guam may not have a voice in congress, we still send our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters to fight in this war. I hope the film will help to open a dialogue on this and similar issues."

In the spirit of creating and stimulating such a dialogue, I'll post here a letter to the editor of The Pacific Daily New two years ago, which compared the political existence of Guam to that of Iraq. I will be writing in my dissertation about how Guam in someway or another represents the New World Order that is already being laid out, where the majority of the world will not only be economic colonies of the United States and the world's superpowers, but will also be military colonies.

Comparing Iraq to Guam? Some would say its a ridiculous and insane comparison. Iraq is a country full of bloodshed, anti-Americanism and oil. Guam is a speck in the Pacific full of BBQ and pro-Americanism. But with words like sovereignty and independence being tossed around the US media because of the “handover” of power, my mind makes constant, uncomfortable connections.

A friend of mine serving in Iraq emailed me several weeks ago, and his insights made this letter to the editor unavoidable. He angrily denounced the “hypocrisy of the CPA” in rigging Iraq’s government and political system “so that it won’t be free from American control.” He brought this point home for me, by recalling conversations we’d had about Guam’s political status. “Sadly, I get reminded about your situation on Guam. Democracy free democracy, sovereignty free sovereignty.”

Before everyone tosses down their newspaper in pro-American rage, first think very carefully about our political status on Guam since 1950 and you’ll see disturbing similarities with the democracy-fixing in Iraq (and sadly, American democracy fixing around the globe). The June 28th transfer of home rule to Iraq is in a way, like the passage of Guam’s Organic Act, in that both are very convincing facades, which hide very deep colonial and controlling flaws. Both the Iraqis and Chamorros have been given a government, which was created and imposed without consent by the majority of the population. The Iraqi interim government at last exists, but is limited in that it cannot act outside of or against the 97 edicts promulgated by Coalition

Proconsul Paul Bremer since last year. On Guam we can make local laws, however thousands of Federal Laws which we have no say in creating supersede our laws and control our island. Both give the illusion of control, but who’s interest really dictate reality?

On Guam we were given a government that has a natural dependency on the United States, for both its authority and economic vitality. The Iraqis will be forced into a similar relationship. Of the $18.4 billion allotted by the US Congress for Iraq’s reconstruction, only 3.2 billion has been used so far. The remaining $15 billion will be used by the US Ambassador to Iraq as leverage in instituting unfair economic reforms and enforcing the US military presence. Both Guam and Iraq are faced with comparable situations where angering or refusing to comply with US wishes or interests, could result in huge economic disasters. Furthermore, it is important to note that these disasters would not necessarily be due to the choices Iraqis or Chamorros have made, but would instead be caused by the way in which the United States has structured their relationship to both, and making economic dependency a primary tenet for both.

Then there are the troops and the bases. At present, the US is building 14 permanent bases in Iraq for its more than 130,000 troops there. Guam has its own bases, and they remain the biggest obstacle to changing the political status of Guam. The Iraqis will deal with similar pressures in the years ahead. What kind sovereignty can you have with foreign troops crawling all over your soil and “strategic importance” written all over your maps? If you ask Iraqis, Okinawans, Chamorros or the people of Diego Garcia Island, not much.

Michael Lujan Bevacqua
Chumalamlam, Guam

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is totally off the subject on the situation of Iraq. But it is kind of related to your prospective discertation. Okay, so lately the PDN has been informing the people of Guam that North Korea is suspected of attacking Guam. Now, do you think this would likely happen? do you think that n. korea's testing of nuclear weapons is a retaliation against the US and other hegemonic nations? Do you think perhaps that the 6.0 earthquake that hit Japan recently was an after effects from the possible testing of North Korea's nuclear weapons? Also, how much role does the government of Guam get to participate in establishing relations with North Korea? I know for a fact that Guam has to maintain its special relationship with Japan, because it has a lot of Japanese tourists and they do a lot of trading. However, in light, of North Korea's actions, perhaps, should the governor of Guam come into negotiations with North Korea or should the US just deal with it?

I know that's a lot of questions, but that's just some of my questions.

Anyways, the point of this comment was to see if you could write on how North Korea won't attack Guam.



PS: I like your topic for your disertation! I can't wait till you finish it, so I can read it. anyways esta. :)

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