Spoils Of War

The “war on terror” wink, wink, has finally started showing the type of dividends our fearless leaders were looking for when they first ordered our troops into Iraq. Shell has become the first Western oil company to get their hands on Iraqi gas since the war started.

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to a gas joint venture with Iraq worth up to four billion dollars, the Iraqi oil ministry said Tuesday, becoming the first Western oil major to gain access to the violence-wracked country’s vast energy reserves.

The deal to capture unwanted gas burned off during oil production for sale both inside Iraq and abroad is expected to be signed in Baghdad next month, ministry spokesman Assem Jihad told AFP.

And who said were not making any progress?

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Iraq Leader Endorses Obama Plan, Heads On The Right Explode

From the moment the interview with Iraqi prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki came out this weekend, the right has been trying to interpret his comments so that John McCain would still have his one and only perceived advantage over Barack Obama.

Soon afterwards, the Bush administration sent our diplomatic contingent in Iraq to see Maliki’s advisers in an obvious attempt to get clarification on his remarks that preferably wouldn’t leave McCain without a campaign. As expected the Iraqi regime complied like the good little lap dogs that they are and blamed the translation of the Maliki comments for the misunderstanding.

The statement, which was distributed to media organizations by the American military early on Sunday, said Mr. Maliki’s words had been “misunderstood and mistranslated,” but it failed to cite specifics.

“Unfortunately, Der Spiegel was not accurate,” Mr. Dabbagh said Sunday by telephone. “I have the recording of the voice of Mr. Maliki. We even listened to the translation.

Unfortunately also, this time for Mr Dabbagh, the New York Times has access to the original tape as well and they have translators that don’t have to answer to the Bush Administration.

The following is a direct translation from the Arabic of Mr. Maliki’s comments by The Times: “Obama’s remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq.”

He continued: “Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.”

Doesn’t sound like 100 years to me.

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Change, Well Sort Of

I really want to support Barack Obama but lately he is making it very difficult. When push comes to shove in November he will likely get my vote but it would be nice if I didn’t have to hold my nose when I did it.  With that off my chest, who said Obama has abandoned his “change” mantra in favor of a move to the middle (besides me of course)?

Barack Obama’s campaign scrubbed his presidential Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop “surge” in Iraq, the Daily News has learned.

The presumed Democratic nominee replaced his Iraq issue Web page, which had described the surge as a “problem” that had barely reduced violence.

“The surge is not working,” Obama’s old plan stated, citing a lack of Iraqi political cooperation but crediting Sunni sheiks – not U.S. military muscle – for quelling violence in Anbar Province.

The News reported Sunday that insurgent attacks have fallen to the fewest since March 2004.

Obama’s campaign posted a new Iraq plan Sunday night, which cites an “improved security situation” paid for with the blood of U.S. troops since the surge began in February 2007.

It praises G.I.s’ “hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics and enormous sacrifice.”

Probably not the change Obama talks about in his his campaign speeches but change all the same.

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Of Course It Was Never About Oil

We all know the Iraq war was never about oil and was actually waged to save us from weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.

But of course no-bid contracts are the norm for oil contracts.

The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production.

I’m glad that war for oil rumour has finally been quashed…wink, wink.
(h/t – Think Progress)

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Times Must Be Rough

Updated Below

I guess we all need to make some sort of sacrifice because of the war in Iraq.

US President George W. Bush said in an interview out Tuesday that he quit playing golf in 2003 out of respect for the families of US soldiers killed in the conflict in Iraq, now in its sixth year.

“I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal,” he said in an interview for Yahoo! News and Politico magazine.

“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf,” he said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.”

Does he have even the smallest clue as to how that sounds?

UPDATE: Not only does Bush seem clueless about how this sounds, it appears he lied about it as well. And finally, Keith Olbermann puts the whole Bush Yahoo/Politico interview in perspective.

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McCain Speak

Updated Below

Even as McCain tries to distance himself from Mr 71% by intimating what many have already known for years, the war in Iraq was more about oil than terrorism, he still cannot get clear of his 100 years in Iraq remark. During a town hall meeting in Denver this morning he spoke on both subjects starting with the dangers of our reliance on foreign oil. He brought up the subject when promoting his upcoming energy policy rollout and while doing so suggested that our Iraqi occupation is, and possible future conflicts could be, caused by that dependence.

“My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will – that will then prevent us – that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East,” McCain said.

But even while saying that, he is still being dogged by his comments suggesting that we could be in Iraq for 100 years which he again tried to explain while dismissing the latest ads from the DNC and MoveOn.org that put those comments front and center.

“You have seen an ad campaign that is mounted against me that says I wanted to stay and fight in Iraq and fight for 100 years,” McCain told about 300 people at the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center.

“My friends, it’s a direct falsification, and I’m sorry that political campaigns have to deteriorate in this fashion,” McCain said. “Because there’s legitimate differences between myself and Senator Obama and Senator Clinton on what we should do in Iraq.”

But now instead of denying he said that, which given the video is pretty much a moot point, he now suggests he was refering not to fighting in Iraq for 100 years, but instead just maintaining a presence there for that long.

He doesn’t deny saying “100 years” in connection with U.S. military operations in Iraq, but says he was clearly referring to a possible peacekeeping force — not a centurylong war, as critics imply.

He says tomato…And that is his problem, his platform in Iraq and the Middle East will keep him forever connected to the most unpopular President in our history and possibly our second most unpopular war.

UPDATE: McCain is again trying to clarify something he said. This time he is now saying that the war that was fought for oil was actually the first gulf war, not the one we started 5 years ago. It seems he spends almost as much time clarifying things he said as he does saying them in the first place.

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So That Is What He Meant

On this, the day before the 5th anniversary of President Bush declaring “Mission Accomplished” from the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino looks to finally clarify exactly what the President meant when she was asked how he would commemorate his declaration of the ending of the conflict.

PERINO: President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific, and said, Mission Accomplished For These Sailors Who Are On This Ship On Their Mission. And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year.

So they couldn’t fit “Mission Accomplished For These Sailors Who Are On This Ship On Their Mission” on the banner and had to shorten it? Well that explains everything, It took 5 years but now I finally understand.

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Playing The Oil Card

Theophrastus Bombastus over at Dakota Voice posts this morning on a Drudge Headline and he appears to be chastising the Dems for seeking to use excess Iraqi oil money to help rebuild the country.

I seem to recall not that long ago that all the lib web sites and blogs were ranting about how the Iraq war was all about oil for Bush and his buddies in the oil industry. Does “No Blood for Oil” ring a bell?

It seems that the Iraqis have done pretty well on their oil since Saddam was overthrown to the tune of about 30 billion dollars, and with the rising cost of crude they stand to profit another 100 billion in the next few years. Now, we have the Democrats screeching that we should be demanding some of that profit from our allies, even before the country has been rebuilt and stabilized. They want their piece of the action NOW!

It seems that it was the Dems casting an envious eye on Iraqi crude all along. It is almost axiomatic that whatever the Dems accuse the Republicans of they are already neck deep in and are only trying to divert attention from their illegal or immoral activities.

With the cost of this “war” now bordering on bankrupting our future, what is wrong with this idea? Using Iraqi revenues to fix the Iraqi infrastructure, I seem to remember someone else floating the same idea a while back when trying to sell the war.

In selling the war to voters, Bush administration officials said overthrowing Saddam Hussein would cost as little at $50 billion, and that much of the reconstruction could be paid for with the Iraq’s oil revenue. (emphasis mine)

Or is it only ok when the Bush administration suggests this?

Oh and how’s that $50 billion in costs thing going?

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Green Zone?

Somebody didn’t get the memo.

A former Corvallis city councilman has died from injuries sustained when rockets pounded Baghdad’s U.S.-protected Green Zone on Easter, according to a story in the Corvallis Gazette Times.

Dick and Leona Converse of Corvallis said they learned Sunday that their son, Paul Converse, had been injured and likely wouldn’t survive. On Monday, two officers from the Oregon Army National Guard arrived at their door.

Read the whole story

What memo am I talking about? You know the one that said things are so much better in Iraq. I am sure the 56 year old financial analyst from the above story who was killed in the supposed “green/safe zone” wished it had made it to the insurgents because apparently no one told them things are supposed to be safer as a result of the “surge”.

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What You Don't See Is Almost As Bad As What You Do See

The not so publicized cost of the war that you won’t see on all the rosy accounts of the recent events in the war.

At least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain injuries, according to military and veterans records compiled by USA TODAY.

The data, provided by the Army, Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs, show that about five times as many troops sustained brain trauma as the 4,471 officially listed by the Pentagon through Sept. 30. These cases also are not reflected in the Pentagon’s official tally of wounded, which stands at 30,327.

The number of brain-injury cases were tabulated from records kept by the VA and four military bases that house units that have served multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One base released its count of brain injuries at a medical conference. The others provided their records at the request of USA TODAY, in some cases only after a Freedom of Information Act filing was submitted.

Some more creative accounting practices brought to you by the Bush Administration.

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