Thursday, March 15, 2007

Give Us Some Real Political Leaders

By Ali al-Fadhily. Inter Press Service

BAGHDAD, Mar 15 (IPS) - Many Iraqis are now looking to local political leadership to fill wide gaps in a fractured government that is failing to provide security and basic needs.

"Iraqis feel lost amongst too many political currents that blew their country away with their narrow sectarian and personal interests," Mohammad Jaafar, a Baghdad-based politician formerly involved in the interim government told IPS.

"I am ashamed to say that I am or even was an Iraqi politician after all the damage to our country that we caused. It is entirely our fault and there is no question about that." Read article

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Whose Oil Is It, Anyway?

By Antonia Juhasz. New York Times

TODAY more than three-quarters of the world’s oil is owned and controlled by governments. It wasn’t always this way.

Until about 35 years ago, the world’s oil was largely in the hands of seven corporations based in the United States and Europe. Those seven have since merged into four: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP. They are among the world’s largest and most powerful financial empires. But ever since they lost their exclusive control of the oil to the governments, the companies have been trying to get it back Read article [You will need to log in at NYTimes]

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Outsourcing Walter Reed.

By Philip Mattera.

Reports of substandard conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center have outraged the country. But that anger should not be directed only at the callous Army officials running the facility.

The full story behind the scandal involves a misguided program to “reinvent government” through outsourcing, a company that botched the delivery of ice to victims of Hurricane Katrina and a giant hedge fund led by a former member of President Bush’s cabinet. The private sector has indirectly had a hand in converting the once legendary Walter Reed into a symbol of the shameful treatment of people who have been maimed in the service of their country.

The dismal state of some facilities at Walter Reed cannot be directly attributed to poor performance by a contractor. After all, it has been only a few months since a politically connected firm called IAP Worldwide Services started taking over many of the management functions at the medical center. Read article

Monday, March 5, 2007

Targeting Tehran

By Michael Klare. The Nation.
At this critical moment when most Americans seek to extricate US forces from the fighting in Iraq as swiftly as possible, George W. Bush appears determined to construct a new rationale for intervention whose logical conclusion is not withdrawal but a wider war, possibly involving attacks on Iran later this year. Like an inveterate gambler who has lost every previous round and now faces insolvency, Bush seems poised to wager everything on one last throw of the dice. Before more lives are put at risk in this reckless bid, the flimsy props of Bush's new rationale must be exposed to rigorous scrutiny and strict limits placed on his warmaking capacity.
Read article