Reliving the Wild West in Iraq | AspenTimes.com

Reliving the Wild West in Iraq

Dear Editor:Some Native Americans out on the reservations have been making some interesting observations about President Bush and his wars in the Middle East. For example, some of the reservations and some tribes have received the status of sovereign nations. So have Iraq and Afghanistan. The way it works is: Indians – or, say, Iraqis – can call their own shots, up to a point. You can have your own government, just so long as you remember who is boss.The Coalition Provisional Authority made new rules for Iraq, after firing the entire Iraqi government and civil service. These new “treaties,” if you will, took much of the nationally owned industries and resources, and divvied them up amongst private corporations. Supposedly, any new Iraqi government is obliged to accept these changes and many others on subjects such as “free trade.”Or take the mineral rights: They belong to the American Indian tribes, right up until the U.S. decides it has to have the oil, the coal or the uranium. One of the biggest scandals in American history is the “misplacing” of tens of billions of dollars of trust funds derived from oil and minerals taken from Indian lands. To this day, even after contempt-of-court citations of U.S. cabinet officers, no accounting has been made. So, it doesn’t surprise Indians when they hear that the Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority “gave away” over $10 billion in Iraqi oil for food trust funds. The money is gone, the CPA is gone, and there is no accounting.The U.S. government has continually made promises that Iraq’s infrastructure would be made whole again, after destruction in large part by U.S. forces, or by the shortage of equipment from the decade of U.S. embargo. American Indians aren’t surprised that none of that has happened; just look at what’s been promised out on the reservations.Or take the U.S. claims of wanting to “liberate” the Iraqi people, while at the same time some 100,000 Iraqis have died since the U.S. invaded. To add insult to injury, many thousand Iraqis have been jailed, and their torture has been widespread. American Indians say: We could have told you that was coming.Bush making war over in the “Wild Middle East” is not unlike the history of the U.S. out in the “Wild West.” Indians even talk of Iraqis having been dumped onto the reservations, figuratively speaking. Just try and find a job – there is little or no employment in Iraq or back on the “rez.” The Indians say that if Iraqis, who as Arabs are also often members of tribes, want to see what is in store for them, just come over and take a look. So if you really want to turn the metaphor upside down, you could almost say that Bush, the commander-in-chief, is out on the warpath against the Iraqi people. Patrick HunterCarbondale

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