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Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Here comes the "Oil for GMO's" Program!
In an appointment all too typical of the Bush administration, Dan Amstutz has been put in charge of agricultural reconstruction in Iraq. Amstutz is a former senior executive of Cargill, the biggest grain exporter in the world.

Oxfam, an organization focused on world hunger, said this is an example of the potentially damaging commercialization of the reconstruction effort in Iraq, which it would prefer to see conducted under the auspices of the United Nations. Oxfam's Kevin Watkins said Amstutz would "arrive with a suitcase full of open-market rhetoric," and was more likely to try to dump cheap US grain on the potentially lucrative Iraqi market than encourage the country to rebuild its once-successful agricultural sector.

"Putting Dan Amstutz in charge of agricultural reconstruction in Iraq is like putting Saddam Hussein in the chair of a human rights commission," said Watkins. "This guy is uniquely well-placed to advance the commercial interests of American grain companies and bust open the Iraqi market - but singularly ill-equipped to lead a reconstruction effort in a developing country."
-- from the Organic Consumers Association via the Vegan Blog.

I'll see if I can summarize this in one sentence: Last summer, Congress passed a $180 billion farm bill so companies like Cargill could continue to produce excess grain, much of it genetically modified, for which the market in this country is saturated, and tens of billions of more dollars have been spent in two wars on a largely defenseless country, drastically reducing its ability to feed itself, and now a Cargill exec is in charge of using even more billions to pay Cargill for that surplus grain to feed those masses we have spent billions to make starving.

Cargill will, of course, show its appreciation by giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaign funds of those in Congress and the White House who make this all possible.