Okie dokie. If you\u2019re wondering about the meteoric increase in gasoline prices at the pump, the reason is ... Unrest in Iraq. Yessir, you can expect an increase in gasoline prices nationwide because of recent violence in Iraq. \u201cMotorists should be ready for gas prices to increase around 5-10 cents,\u201d said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. \u201cThe price hike could continue depending on the duration of this conflict.\u201d Gasoline prices in Big Rapids and throughout the area have skyrocketed just as the summer vacation season begins because of \u201cunrest in Iraq.\u201d So, here\u2019s my question. If there is \u201cunrest in Iraq\u201d today, then when exactly was there a state of "rest" \u2014 quiet and calm \u2014 in Iraq. Was there no unrest, say, two weeks ago? A couple months back? Last year? When was there not unrest in Iraq? And certainly over the past decade. Really? Gas prices are shooting up because of the \u201cunrest\u201d in Iraq? OK. Here\u2019s a couple things for you. A) There has never been calm or quiet in Iraq. Never. Even under the totalitarian regime of Saddam Hussein, there was little if any \u201ccalm.\u201d Iraq is basically a "manufactured" country \u2014\u00a0created by the British for their puppet, Faisel, who had been forced out of French controlled Syria. Iraq was a kingdom until 1941 when there was a coup d\u2019etat. The British re-invaded Iraq soon after.\u00a0There was a military occupation until the 1950; a armed revolution in the early 1960s; and, finally, Saddam Hussein in 1979. Saddam Hussein invaded Iran a year and a half after taking power, during which war some 1.5 million people from both sides died. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera. Then, the U.S. invaded Iraq which did absolutely nothing to stabilize the situation. Witness ... today. Unrest in Iraq. There has never been anything BUT a state of unrest in Iraq, so to say that the present increase in gasoline prices at American pumps is the result of some sudden, unexpected, and never anticipated \u201cunrest in Iraq\u201d is simply a bald-faced lie. But ... we buy it. Like the sheep we are, we learn the increase in gasoline prices is because of some unrest in the Middle East and we simply accept this as truth because ... well ... because. B) We don\u2019t buy or import that much gas from Iraq in the first place. According to the independent U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) the U.S. imports close to 9,006,000 barrels of crude oil from Iraq per month \u2014 or about 124,403,000 per year. That equals about 3.48 percent of our total crude oil imports. 3.48 percent! And the world is coming crashing down around us. Really? After processing the crude, we get some a total of 6,547,000 gallons of gasoline from Iraq. (U.S. Energy Information Administration) There are some 246 million vehicles registered in the U.S. All the gasoline we get from Iraq would fill every car in America\u2019s gas tank twice.\u00a0Two times. That\u2019s all!\u00a0 We get 15 times more crude oil from Canada, (and there isn\u2019t too much unrest there.) Heck! We get four times more oil from Mexico than we do from Iraq. C\u2019mon! Only 3.48 percent of the crude imports ... annually. That\u2019s it. Iraq is tenth or eleventh on our list of individual suppliers, and there are a bucket load of suppliers who supply as much crude as do they, or just a touch less. Still, we believe the doomsayers, pull up to the pump, mumble and grumble a bit, fill the tank. And drive away. Every time the oil producers, with the complete and total support of the U.S. government (Democrats and Republicans alike) want to make another bunch of billions on the backs of American consumers, they find some excuse to do so. Unrest in Iraq. Switch over from summer gas to winter gas. (Really? Does the change in seasons come as a surprise to them every year?) A pipeline problem here. A pipeline problem there. Let me tell you something. If the Pioneer newspaper has a problem \u2014 if the press breaks down; if the electricity is cut off; if the editor-in-chief is hit by a bus crossing Michigan Avenue \u2014 there will be a newspaper on the stands the next day, and at exactly the same price. On the other hand, if the head of Exxon or BP has heartburn after a wild evening of conspicuous consumption, gas prices skyrocket the next day. And, another thing. When some ne\u2019er-do-well walks out of Walmart without paying for her PopTarts, the entire force and muscle of the law enforcement community and judicial system is brought to bear and the criminal can expect to do some hard time - at least in the county slammer. But ... when the heads of oil producing companies conspire and collude to rape and pillage the consumers in this country, the folks in Washington shrug their shoulders and say, \u201cHow can we even dream of regulating those prices?\u201d And the oil barons head for the Caymans. It is simply bullwash, and we continue to condone it ... \u2019cause too many of us have no choice.