Pumpin’ war blend
Really good wars — the kind that movie moguls retune and recast ad infinitum after the respectful period of corpse decay — take a lot of oil, blood, and money.
And while Operation Iraqi Liberation, that is Freedom, didn’t look like much going in, Queque is proud to report that Iraq has become one of those Really Good Wars sure to be appropriated and propagandized a hundred years from now, even if the Greatest Generation moniker is already taken.
It’s all in the numbers. The U.S. Department of Defense’s October contracts with Military City businesses ensure the oil will keep flowing at least until next Halloween thanks in part to an $180-million fuel contract with Alamo City’s Valero Energy.
All in all, Valero’s made out OK in the War on Terror, seeing its military sales shoot from $314 million at 2003’s kick-off to last year’s $661 million — five percent of total contracted military fuel sales.
Yet the hometown crew still dropped a rank, from the four to five slot, as some fly-by-night called the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation passed them up with $909 million in contracted crude, according to a report just released by the Defense Energy Support Center.
As a taxpayer, Queque is proud to share the wealth with our brothers and sisters in Kuwait. Where would we be without the Kuwaitis, their gold-plated toilet seats, and the whole pretext that kicked off this Armageddon thing in the first place?
As for the blood and money angle, those million-plus dead Iraqi civvies have done wonders for the blood quota. Puts our 3,800 dead in perspective.
Of course, our Benjamins is for the war’s living, dismembered and traumatized. Other San Anto greats include:
• MedTrust snaked a $12.6-million contract to provide the U.S. Army with billing help for the department’s North Atlantic region mental-health clinics.
• San Antonio’s Gillbane Building was sole bidder for the $92-million Joint Center of Excellence for Battlefield Health and Trauma Research Facility at Fort Sam.
• MAPCO, Inc. got $6.7 million to build a “multipurpose Machine Gun Range and Urban Assault Course” out at Fort Bliss.
So take heart, O ye war weary, the recipe of success is gellin’ just fine. Just let it chill. Serve cold.
Rabbit scratch fever
Carlos Guerra, our favorite establishment voice, stepped into the bio-warfare scuffle last week, finally offering a perspective outside the daily’s previous cheerleading endorsements. Of course, we told you all about Homeland Security’s planned gazillion-dollar National Agro & Biodefense Facility that may land in SA — about the questionable past and numerous accidents involved in bio-warfare research in the U.S. And that was, like, before September’s public hearing. `“Banging the drum for Bio-defense,” August 15-21, 2007`
Anyway, readers of Guerra’s column last week were told of the Austin-based Sunshine Project, a non-prof that’s been “delving into public records — and forcing their disclosure.” Hmm. Sounds an awful lot like newspaper work.
Guerra says Sunshine’s director has uncovered a “disturbing array of violations of safety and security procedures” in national biodefense labs. “In one Texas lab,” he writes, “maintenance workers entered a ‘secured’ area without the required protective suits to fix a malfunctioning filter in the ventilation system.”
Queque’s esteemed colleague across the road apparently doesn’t seem to think you need to know that this “one Texas lab” is the Biosciences Building at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Or that it happened just six months ago.
Or that the three lab workers entered the day after researchers had been experimenting with tularemia, a highly contagious, potentially fatal disease whose symptoms sometimes mimic bubonic plague.
That’s what UTSA told Queque, anyway, adding that although none were apparently exposed to tularemia, the three were put on antibiotics and subsequently filed Workplace Compensation reports.
It would have made interesting news had anyone chosen to report it.
Oh, shit. I think we just did.
Paul Harvey’s got nothin’ on the Queque close.
Charlie y los indios
Queque would be remiss to not offer a hunkin’ heap of rotten espárrago to Rep. Charlie Gonzalez for not only voting against the majority of Dems on the Peru Free-Trade Agreement — but for having the nerve to brag about it in a press release.
Condemned by Peru’s 350,000 indigenous peoples, the FTA will allow new oil drilling rights in the Amazon, bringing more roads, loggers, and endangered species trafficking.
Then there is trade itself.
“The U.S. already has a large and growing agricultural trade deficit with Peru,” said Food & Water Watch Director Wenonah Hauter. “`Under the Peru FTA` U.S. farmers will face growing import competition from vegetable and fruit companies that relocate to Peru while Peru farmers are likely to be driven from their land.”
Informed sources tell Queque the deal will bring on an increase of terrorism down below.
Pero, wait ...
Now that CPS has committed more than $200 million for new nuclear power (with billions more to come, should this first investment take root), the Alamo Group Sierra Club has decided to offer the City-owned utility an alternative path into the future. (We gave you our energy analysis in “CPS Must Die” last month. Check out sacurrent.com.)
Claro, the path of saving energy and using non-polluting energy sources won’t lead us to that Halo/Blade Runner future of perpetual warfare, mutation, and climatic chaos we’ve been steering toward. Instead, the plan offered by the 2,300 members of the AGSC just might make living a little more fun, in a less asthma-cancer-premature deaths sort of way.
It’s a toss-up. •