Local Opinions Do Matter

by Rebecca Schmitz

Before George W. Bush moves on to his next war, his countrymen should have a chance to send a message about the direction of the the current one. Missoula has that opportunity this election with the Iraq War referendum. Opponents of the referendum dismiss it as a waste of the city’s time, and tell us that foreign policy issues are best handled by our Congressional delegation. I disagree. Change needs to start somewhere. Why shouldn’t it begin at the local level? If we don’t stand up and say “NO” to our President how can we honestly expect the same of anyone else at any level of government? Free speech is never a waste of time, especially when lives are on the line.

Mark Tokarski at Piece of Mind wrote an insightful post last week about our government’s plans for Iraq:

The U.S., Halliburton and KBR have been busy these past four years constructing fourteen bases, five of which are superbases that can house as many as 100,000 permanent troops…Congress, of course, passed a resolution forbidding permanent bases in Iraq, and in true Orwellian fashion, mere statement of noble intent covers up a whole lot of ignoble plundering. Of course the bases are temporary. They are only meant to last thirty or forty years – long enough to extract the oil wealth out of the country.

These bunker-cities are big business. War profiteering has become rampant in Iraq. Among the worst offenders is the former Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (now known officially as KBR). The November issue of Vanity Fair magazine has an expose of KBR’s activities:

KBR’s current military-support contract is known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or logcap. This is the contract’s third incarnation, and, like its predecessors, logcap 3 is a “cost-plus” contract: whatever KBR spends, the government agrees to reimburse, with the addition of a fee of about 3 percent. The more the company spends, the more it makes, so it pays to be profligate. All the former employees I spoke to told of KBR’s over-ordering equipment such as computers, generators, and vehicles on an epic scale. Millions of dollars’ worth of equipment was left to rot in yards in the desert.

Frankly, it’s disheartening to read such things. It’s hard to believe one small city in a largely rural state unblessed by the fruits of the Electoral College can make a difference. Who cares what Montana thinks? That’s what the opponents of the Iraq War referendum would have you believe. Maybe I’m a hopeless idealist, but I think Missoula’s opinion does matter. Small towns and cities across the nation are taking a stand against George W. Bush’s bleak vision of America’s future: a series of metropolis-bunkers spanning the globe providing endless profit for the well-connected few. Unfortunately, few elected representatives can find the courage to stand up to the war profiteers and their supporters in the Bush Administration and Congress. Therefore, it’s time we did. Maybe only then will they finally listen to us.

Vote YES on Missoula’s Iraq War Referendum.

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  1. Ayn Rand

    nice tag team!

  2. Nothing penetrates the conservative “mind”.

  3. Had that discussion just this morning, Mark….

  4. I’m going to take your comment as a compliment, Ayn, because there’s no shame in being one of many voices trying to do good in this world. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

  5. Certainly the goal here isn’t to persuade conservatives. At best we can draw out responses from them that reveal their character and ideology. (Like Carol’s most recent post on Matt Singer.)

  6. Big Swede

    Why stop at this War Referendum when we turly can obtain world peace by us all converting to Islam. But don’t take my word for it-listen to words of the choosen ones.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/10/24/0320/2227

  7. You’re a freak Swede, and you’re only doing us a favor.

    Stop on by any time you’d like.

  8. Jim Lang

    So Big Swede, your other name is Yacka Jah Yacka ?

  9. Swede, I’m not a fan of religion in any form, including Islam. It’s the most oppressive and primitive of the monotheistic cults currently swaying human thought these days. Don’t assume that just because I’m a liberal I’m tolerant of every form of human expression.

  1. 1 Boxers and (News) Briefs « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] matter which City Council candidate you support. We have our favorites, as you know, and we have a definite opinion on the Iraq War […]

  2. 2 Reality Check « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] can’t get Congress or the Administration to listen to us, why shouldn’t we turn to our local politicians? Change has to start somewhere. However, as amusing as this petition is, I don’t think […]




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