[Marxism] Hilary Clinton calls for privatizing Iraq oil through a "people's" trust
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Dec 31 05:52:43 MST 2006
Wall Street Journal
More evidence that a massive escalation of the Iraq occupation is being
December 18, 2006
An Oil Trust for Iraq
By HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON and JOHN ENSIGN December 18, 2006; Page A16
Every day, American troops in Iraq continue to sacrifice while serving
bravely and magnificently under deteriorating circumstances. And every day,
the Iraqi people are paying an enormous price for the future of that country
as well -- a future that, by all accounts, is in jeopardy.
For the sake of our soldiers and for the future of Iraq, it is time we place
greater rights and responsibilities of citizenship in the hands of the Iraqi
people. This includes a stake in oil revenues, which are central to
political reconciliation and an end to the sectarian violence.
Recent news reports suggest that Iraqi officials are nearing a compromise on
how to divide Iraq's substantial oil revenues, based on population, among
the various regions in the country. As part of the final compromise
regarding oil revenues, we believe that the distribution of funds should be
structured in a way that helps the Iraqi people directly.
We have urged for three years that the Bush administration pursue an Iraq
Oil Trust, modeled on the Alaskan Permanent Fund, guaranteeing that every
individual Iraqi would share in the country's oil wealth.
Oil revenues would accrue to the national government and a significant
percentage of oil revenues would be divided equally among ordinary Iraqis,
giving every citizen a stake in the nation's recovery and political
reconciliation and instilling a sense of hope for the promise of democratic
The implications would be vast.
. The future of Iraq's oil reserves remains at the heart of the political
crisis in Iraq, as the regional and sectarian divides in Iraq play out over
the division of resources and revenues. As the Iraq Study Group writes, "The
politics of oil has the potential to further damage the country's already
fragile efforts to create a unified central government." An Iraq Oil Trust
would chart an equitable path forward for dividing oil revenues in a way
that transcends the divide among Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis.
. As report after report indicates, one of the challenges to building Iraq's
oil revenues has been insurgent attacks against oil infrastructure. A
distribution of revenues to all Iraqis would mean they would have a greater
incentive to keep the oil flowing, help the economy grow, reject the
insurgency, and commit to the future of their nation.
. While demonstrating that the U.S. is not in Iraq for oil, an Iraq Oil
Trust would also inhibit corruption and the concentration of oil wealth in
the hands of a privileged few.
. Finally, an Iraq Oil Trust would demonstrate the values at the heart of
democratic governance: Individuals would have the rights and
responsibilities of citizenship. Indeed, the study group reports, "Iraqis
have not been convinced that they must take responsibility for their own
future." By trusting ordinary Iraqis, ordinary Iraqis would in turn gain
greater trust in the national government while seeing something positive
about the future at a time when positive signs have been few and far
Of course, there are obstacles to putting an Iraq Oil Trust in place, from
the ability to perform a census to the capacity to distribute funds. But
these obstacles do not seem so daunting when compared to the implications of
not taking all the steps we can to find a political solution.
There is a bipartisan consensus about the importance of placing in the hands
of Iraqis greater control over their own destiny. Sadly, with Iraq riven by
sectarian strife, terrorism, insurgency, corruption and day-to-day
criminality and violence, the ability of Iraqis to determine their own
future seems to be in jeopardy. In order to build popular support for an end
to the chaos, ordinary Iraqis must believe that keeping the nation unified
holds the promise of a brighter future for their families. An Iraq Oil Trust
will be an important step in the right direction.
Now is the time to act. We are at a critical juncture in our nation's policy
toward Iraq. In the aftermath of the Iraq Study Group report, the
administration is conducting several reviews of our Iraq policy. We should
seize this moment and chart a course that places greater responsibility in
the leaders and citizens of Iraq. It's time to put our trust where our
democratic values lie: in the Iraqi people.
Mrs. Clinton, a Democratic senator from New York, and Mr. Ensign, a
Republican senator from Nevada, are members of the Senate Armed Services
committee. Mrs. Clinton is the author of "It Takes a Village,"
rereleased last week by Simon & Shuster to mark the book's 10th anniversary.
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