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“Making the Connections between Fracking and War”: an Iraq veteran speaks out

December 31, 2011

“… Not only does fracking destroy drinking water, but it also puts workers and communities at risk from many of the same hazards we have already faced in war, such as explosions and risks to our health and safety.

We often return from war with few employable skills and are frequently preyed upon by corporations and contractors eager to put us back into the wars from which we have just returned.  The only difference with hydrofracking is that it’s happening in our own backyards…”

This excerpt is from a statement published by Joyce Wagner, an Iraq veteran who served from 2002-2008 as a Marine. Please read her full statement, “Making the Connections between Fracking and War” on the Iraq Veterans Against the War blog, along with her bio.  Thanks to Brendan J O’Connor for forwarding this important statement. Protecting Our Waters posts it below in full, as we all come to grips with the terrible loss of life and limb suffered by Iraqis and Americans during an insane war, and as we celebrate the role of truth-speakers and protesters everywhere who demand justice, peace, and an end to ecocide.

Making the Connections between Fracking and War

published by Joyce Wagner on 12/27/11 4:19pm
On July 25, 2011, Arthur “Jerry” Kramer, Chairman of Empire Government Strategies, addressed a letter to the Executive Director of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Jose Vasquez.  The letter claims that Empire Govt Strategies has been in discussion with veterans’ organizations that are interested in the job possibilities offered by the controversial practice of hydrofracturing, or fracking.  The letter further claims “we believe, and others join us in feeling that veterans organizations should have an interest in supporting hydrofracking because of the job potential and the fact that our continued reliance on foreign oil should be unnecessary.”

Our second point of unity states that we believe that veterans should be taken care of when they return from war, which indeed includes jobs and healthcare.  But our third point of unity is reparations and self-determination for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, including an end to corporate pillaging. There is a clear connection between the companies pursuing hydrofracking and the corporations profiting from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

BlackRock Inc. is the biggest hydrofracking investment firm in New York with 38.5 million dollars invested in hydrofracking in that state.  They also encourage their clients to invest in oil and other energy products in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, to include Iraq and Afghanistan.  They own shares in a number of  corporations who profit from the sacrifices that many of us have made in war, including Chevron.

In May 2010, Global Exchange published an alternative annual report on the Chevron Corporation.  This report exposed Chevron’s corrupt political involvement in a number of countries and regions, including Iraq.  The segment on Iraq was written and compiled by former IVAW board member TJ Buonomo and current IVAW advisory board member Antonia Juhasz. It explains Chevron’s role in catalyzing the illegal war in the name of its own profits, disregarding the value of the lives of our brothers and sisters who would be fighting it.  Additionally, corporations like Blackrock who are profiting from fracking in our own backyards are also deeply invested in Chevron and similar corporations who are making enormous profits oversees.

These corporations did not care about our health and safety when they allowed us to sacrifice our minds and bodies – not to mention our brothers and sisters – in the name of their profits, and they do not care about it now.  Not only does fracking destroy drinking water, but it also puts workers and communities at risk from many of the same hazards we have already faced in war, such as explosions and risks to our health and safety.

We often return from war with few employable skills and are frequently preyed upon by corporations and contractors eager to put us back into the wars from which we have just returned.  The only difference with hydrofracking is that it’s happening in our own backyards.

We gathered in Pittsburgh in September of 2009 during the G20 summit to tell major corporations and world economic leaders that we have already sacrificed too much for their wallets, and that we refuse to continue to sacrifice for their profit.   Many of our members have joined the occupy movement for similar reasons.  Now it’s time to tell hydrofracking investors, energy companies, and their representatives that we’ve sacrificed too much already, and we are not interested in supporting their destructive and irresponsible war on our communities and natural resources, whether foreign or domestic, at any price.

One Comment
  1. January 3, 2012 5:32 pm

    Thank you Joyce. You are a remarkable woman, an astonishing inspiration, and an incredible catalyst for change.

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