Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Bowels of Government

Rather than the hallowed halls, the world is given a glimpse of the foul byproduct of democratic leaders digesting “what is good” for their respective countries. The U.S. Senate tabled an ethics bill for the time being as Republicans and Democrats snipe one another for its failure. Meanwhile in the newest democracy, the Iraqi Cabinet nears a vote on a hydrocarbons law. The AP had this to say:

The law is expected to encourage foreign oil companies with their huge investment clout and technology to quickly modernize Iraq's oil sector and meet the goal of doubling the current crude production of 2.5 million barrels per day by 2010.

"The law allows for concessions to global oil companies as a way to achieve the highest benefit for Iraqis, taking into consideration fair competition between these companies regardless of their nationalities," Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said without giving more details.

How much of the Iraqi’s oil wealth will migrate to the corporate coffers of Western oil companies? President Bush repeatedly said the natural resources of Iraq belong to its people. What happens if 75-80% of those revenues skip out of the country? Is that akin to loan sharking? Where are the details on the deal in that new democratic role model for the Middle East?

The Iraqi cabinet is not the final place for approval. It must go to their Parliament for a vote. Mr. Jihad wants the measure approved within a month. He needs to contact a travel agent as most Iraqi elected officials no longer live in Iraq. Due to violence and the threat of assassination most live in Damascus, Jordan, and Britain. How would people in America feel if most of our Congresspersons lived in Toronto or Mexico City?

Given their inaction on ethics and lobbying reform, we may just have to run them off to those places…

No comments: