Gerald Rudolph: Blood for oil

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The war in Iraq is being waged in large part because that country is the second largest producer of oil in the world; second only to Saudi Arabia. The American public is partly responsible for the war because it just can't seem to wean itself from the use of gas-guzzling vehicles. If Americans would insist that Detroit manufacture cars that could get much better mileage per gallon and that intensive research be made to find out how to use alternative forms of energy, we wouldn't have to be dependent of Middle Eastern oil, and we wouldn't have to drill on our own public lands. It is not enough, though, to just contact the powers that be in Detroit; it also is necessary to demand that Congress agree to take the same stand.

Because most of the big media slanted reports, many Americans think there was a direct connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. This is not true; they did not even like each other.

It is obvious now that some of the hawks in the Bush administration had been hoping and planning to go to war with Iraq as early as the last years of the Reagan administration. The perfect excuse to start such a war was the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Bush said repeatedly that there was a link between al-Qaida cells that Osama bin Laden had started and Saddam Hussein; that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States because of her weapons of mass destruction (which have not been found); that Saddam for years had imprisoned, tortured and killed thousands and thousands of Iraqis; and that a different form of government should be established: a democracy. Although democracy is a messy form of government, it is the best. To make it work requires patience, experience, cooperation and a real desire to obtain it. The 13 American colonies were very fortunate in being removed from the mother country by the broad Atlantic Ocean and by 169 years of essentially managing their own affairs before the start of the American Revolution.

Bush said the United States should start a unilateral war and he was, unfortunately, able to convince the Congress to go along with him even though America started such a war only twice before in its history: the American Revolution and the Civil War. At the same time we are trying to establish a democracy in Iraq, we are in danger of losing our own form of federal representative democracy.

Much as been written, said and shown on television about American jails in Iraq and Afghanistan and the inhumane treatment of the prisoners in those jails. A series of treaties were signed between 1864 and 1949 in Geneva, Switzerland, providing for humane treatment of combatants and civilians in wartime. Each treaty sought to clarify and strengthen the pre-existing treaties. The United States signed the 1949 Convention. We now know the kind of treatment that has been meted out to prisoners who have been guarded by American soldiers assigned to that duty and by private civilian contractors.

Who made the recommendation to ignore the Geneva Convention because we were in a war with terrorists? Which person in a high position in the Bush administration recommended that we follow the Articles of the Geneva Convention? Who did Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and other powerful figures in the Cabinet listen to? Is it surprising that after many months of abusing and causing some prisoners to commit suicide that Muslims and most Americans are upset?

Abu Ghraib happens to be the largest and best-know prison in which to place Iraqi prisoners, but there are eight others in Iraq and some in Afghanistan where equally harsh conditions exist.

Why is it the people who decided to ignore the Geneva Convention and who ignored repeated requests by the Red Cross to adopt humane practices in the prisons are not being forced to resign while the people who were following orders to guard, interrogate and "soften up" prisoners for further questioning are being forced to undergo a court martial?

Is the showing of what has been happening to prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan going to help further the diplomatic efforts of the United States? Do they help the cause of trying to establish a democratic government in Iraq?

What is the best thing the United States can do now?

Gerald Rudolph

Steamboat Springs

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