Saturday, May 19, 2007

Kucinich: While Washington Sleeps, Effort to Privatize Iraq’s Oil Continues

Ohio Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich's congressional website posted the following press release.

Kucinich: While Washington Sleeps, Effort to Privatize Iraq’s Oil Continues

Washington, May 18 - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today’s Washington Post had a headline story “Bush Open to Iraq Benchmarks.” Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) issued the following statement:

“The benchmarks include a provision, which would lead to privatization of Iraq’s oil wealth. The President is open to such legislation because it is his idea. He and the Vice President have consistently misled the Congress on this matter, attempting variously to mask the privatization scheme as ‘equitable revenue sharing’ and as a means toward ‘reconciliation.’ This is a grand deception.

“While the media is paying close attention to the process of negotiations between the Administration and Congress, very few are looking at the most substantive issue in all the benchmarks: The attempt to force Iraq to privatize its oil, a provision open for all who can read to see in the text of the bill before the Iraqi Parliament.

“Congress has had little or no examination of the consequences of the benchmark which calls for Iraq to pass a Hydrocarbon Act. It isn’t asking questions and the President isn’t telling.

“Of course the President isn’t ruling out punishing the Iraqi government for not reaching benchmarks, because his Administration has deceitfully linked concepts of reconciliation and equitable oil revenue sharing to the passage of the Hydrocarbon Act which leads to privatization of Iraq’s oil wealth!

“Democrats have denied they are for anything which privatizes Iraq’s oil, which means they may be largely unaware of what the consequences in the bill are because of Mr. Bush’s deception.

“This entire matter about control of Iraq’s oil would be a farce, if it were not so tragic in its implication. First, Congress wanted benchmarks because the President wanted them. Now the President wants benchmarks because Congress wants them. Who is the father of this baby?!

“Meanwhile Congress prepares to continue to fund the war while the White House crafts a ‘bipartisan consensus’ to force Iraq to show “progress,” meaning Iraq gives up control of its oil. This war will never end if Iraqis believe we are trying to steal their oil, and, given the substance of the Hydrocarbon Act, how could they believe anything else?”

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