Dear Sir,

I suppose it was inevitable that George Bush & Co. would carry on with their “you're with us or agin' us” attitude when contracts for rebuilding Iraq will be given out. In a way it is understandable, having gone to war and occupied Iraq against the majority of world opinion and the UN, caused immense war damages, having now to pay the lion's share of reparation, that they direct the lucrative contracts to US and allies' companies. Bit ironic that already it has come to light that Dick Cheney's old company, Halliburton, is already being accused of overcharging some $61 million. It does seem an exceptional blunder, even beyond Bush's normal quota, to have veteran James Baker on his way to Europe to try and convince France, Russia, etc., to drop their claims for debts owed to them by Iraq, running into billions of dollars (part of the $125 billion) when this Bush administration snub is released. Maybe the French, Germans, etc., should just press for their debts to be paid and be thankful they do not have to answer to their public on a daily death toll of their young men and women in the military there. In a different context entirely, but striking a similar chord, is the present EU summit where countries' votes are in dispute. It does seem ridiculous that countries like Poland and Spain with half the population of Germany should have only two votes difference between them. How this was ever agreed at the Nice Treaty is beyond me, but being agreed if Poland and others want to stick with it then I feel Germany (and others) would be quite within their rights to insist on proportional subsidies in accordance with voting powers/rights. One has to wonder how Poland, for example, with both hands extended for vast aid/subsidies would react to this idea, when Germany is the main donator? In Spain they have a good expression, “Quien paga, manda” (who pays, calls the shots), and some countries should remember that!

Yours Sincerely, Graham Phillips