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Oil Is Our Damnation
by Jeremy Scahill
From the December issue of the Progressive Magazine. Filed November30, 2002.

IT'S AN UNDERSTATEMENT TO SAY THAT Baghdad is a congested city. Practically every car on the streets is a taxi. And while the government has recently put a fleet of shiny new yellow taxis on the roads, most of the cabs are "private." Teachers, engineers, sometimes even doctors, drive the family car to make ends meet in a country where the average monthly salary is about $5 to $10.

Relatively speaking, riding in a taxi is a pretty inexpensive way to get around. Most destinations in Baghdad will cost about 750 Iraqi dinars (roughly forty cents). And going to the gas station to fill up is a bit of a formality--fuel is practically free. A gallon of gas costs less than five cents, while a liter of clean drinking water costs a quarter.

But cheap gas is one of the few perks ordinary Iraqis gain from their country's vast oil resources. Ask anyone in Iraq what they think the coming war is about and you'll get the same answer everywhere, "Bush wants our oil." . . .

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