11 08 2007

I was amazed to learn recently that a major chunk of the gasoline the US uses in Iraq goes for generators that are primarily used to run air conditioning—in tents. Air conditioned tents. In Iraq. In incredibly hot, sunny weather. All that sunshine pouring down, all that solar energy just bouncing back into infinite space, and American soldiers are getting killed driving fuel truck convoys to keep their air conditioning running—in tents. Why not just set the AC up outside and cool the whole country?

Now, it’s not “economical,” according to the current accounting paradigm, to replace all electrical generation with solar panels, but, even without the numbers, I have a gut feeling, Mr. Chertoff, that that is some mighty expensive gas-powered air conditioning…an application for which solar panels would be perfect—just bring ’em in once, and they’re there…and while you’re at it, distribute solar panels to the Iraqis, by way of reparations.

They used to have 24-hour water and electricity, back before we started putting the screws to Saddam. They had a pretty nice standard of living over there, before we came along and trashed their country in the name of saving it…but anyway, neighborhood solar panel banks, owned and controlled by neighborhood co-ops, would decentralize the power distribution system and make it less prone to disruption from Iraqi freedom fighter attacks.

And, such a big bump in solar panel orders would bring the price down and prompt the development of even more efficient panels, according to those market forces Herr Bush is so fond of saying he trusts…..But NOOO…..we’re going to fight for our right to burn all the gas and diesel we can get our hands on. It’s the American way. Who cares if it’s killing kids in Iraq? We’ll solve the world’s problems by reducing the number of people on the planet through military competition. It’s the Republican way!


Meanwhile, the Iraqi Parliament has adjourned for the summer without passing the notorious oil law, which is always presented in this country as being about distribution of oil revenues within Iraq, but which is actually much more concerned with turning Iraq’s oil resources over to foreign companies for exploration,exploitation, and profit. That’s the best news out of Iraq in a while. Keep stalling, guys, something’s bound to happen. Maybe the US will go bankrupt—that seems more likely than a voluntary withdrawal at this point. The Dims want dominion and oil just as bad as the Repugs—they’re just not willing to play quite as nasty to get it.


Credit for this delay goes to the pressure of Iraqi public opinion. Oil workers actually went on strike over the question, in spite of persecution by the US- backed government. Hey, union busting is the American way, right? But it wasn’t just the unions—it was technocrats and bankers and lots of Iraqis telling their parliament that the law was a very bad idea. Once again, as with Hamas in Palestine, democracy is working in the middle east—just not the way the Bush junta wanted it to.

I mean, nothing seems to be going their way on this. Trying to drum up widening the war to Iran, they complain about Iranian help for the insurgents, which makes no sense because the insurgency is largely Sunni and the Shi’ite Iranians would like to see a stable Shi’ite Iraq–why would they destabilize a friendly government? Then we learn that not only are the US government’s claims of Iranian meddling counterintuitive, the gov’s own statistics show that a majority of the foreign fighters we have captured in Iraq have come there from our supposed ally, Saudi Arabia. And then there’s the little matter of the 190,000 AK-47’s and pistols that have gone missing since the US supplied them to the Iraqi army–we thought. Comin’ back atcha! And can I ice that cake with the story of fighter jet parts sold to Iran by the Pentagon even as Bush rattled his pecker–I mean his saber–at the Iranians? Soo…it turns out the US government has done more to arm its so-called terrorist opponents than anybody else!

That is a complicated issue, really. The dims cried foul, but only because they’re eager to out-pecker rattle–I mean out-saber-rattle–the Bush Junta when it comes to Iran. As a committed pacifist, I’m not in favor of anybody having any weapons, let alone using them, whether they’re pistols or fighter jets. So, when I see these kinds of antics, I have to laugh at the comedy of errors even as I hope nobody else gets hurt.

Way too many people have died already, and all this fighting and revenge is a distraction and a detraction from the central issue of creating a sustainable, just, and graceful human culture on this planet. A distraction because it keeps us from focusing on what’s really important, and a detraction because every human life lost, every gallon of oil burned, every piece of military hardware manufactured to feed this bonfire in the Middle East, means there is one less human intelligence, one less unit of energy, one less bit of our resources and manufacturing capacity available to create solutions to the mess we are in.

The Dimocrats are apparently right–that there is not the political will in Washington to end the war, but it if that is a fact, then it is indicative of a complete moral failure on the part of America’s politicans. It’s not just Bush and Cheney and Gonzalez that need impeaching, it’s Reid and Pelosi and Rahm Emmanuel and the rest of the sycophantic moral cowards who have infested national politics. Can we stop them before they get us all killed?

music: Jackson Browne, “Soldier of Plenty

Solar Tribe, “Enlightened Paramecium”





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