"And all Iraqi
military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning.
In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy
oil wells..." - Bush
Blood, Oil, and Tears - and
the 2004 Bush Campaign Strategy
7, 2003 thepeoplesvoice.org
words we never hear in the corporate media's discussion of Iraq are
"oil" and "nationalism." Yet these are the keys to
understanding why we got into Iraq, why we only want "limited"
involvement from the U.N., why we won't succeed in stopping attacks against
us in Iraq, and why George W. Bush's crony capitalism and
aircraft-carrier-landing phony-warrior drama have so terribly harmed our
nation and set up a disaster for our children's generation.
If we stay, we'll
continue to control ten percent of the world's oil (and perhaps as much as
twenty percent - Iraq still has vast unexplored areas that Cheney was
dividing up in his pre-9/11 Energy Task Force meetings with Halliburton and
Enron). Maintaining control of Iraq's oil will keep OPEC off balance, and
will keep faith with Rupert Murdoch's advice to George W. Bush before the
war that cheap oil resulting from seizing Iraq's oil fields would help the
American economy more than any tax cuts.
(Actually, we should
stop calling our invasion of Iraq a "war" - we'd already crippled
the nation with 12 years of attacks and sanctions, and then sent the UN in
to verify that they were helpless. It's like beating somebody senseless on
the street, breaking both their legs with a baseball bat, blindfolding them,
and then challenging them to fight. This was an invasion, not a war.)
Thus, keeping control
of Iraq's oil will help us keep our SUVs and keep faith with Poppy Bush's
famous dictum that "the American lifestyle is not negotiable." And
transferring the money from Iraq's oil to large corporations that heavily
support Republican candidates has obvious benefits to those currently in
control of the White House, Senate, House, and Supreme Court.
But let's consider the
future. Our occupation troops are mostly European-, Hispanic-, and
African-American-ancestry Christians in an Arab Muslim land that suffered
during the Crusades. Thus, we will continue to draw thousands of Jehadists
who find it infinitely easier to travel to Iraq than New York, and our
presence will continue to inflame nationalists passions just as the British
did in their failed venture in Iraq nearly a century ago. And George W. Bush
will probably lose the 2004 election, unless he can divert our attention by
ginning up a war somewhere else within 13 months.
On the other hand, if
we declare victory and leave Iraq to its warlords and zealots (as we've done
in almost all of Afghanistan except the city of Kabul), we'll lose access to
all that oil, re-empower OPEC, further drive up domestic gasoline prices,
and leave Iraq either as a warlord-dominated state like Afghanistan, a
cleric-dominated state like Iran, or a strongman-dominated state
like...well...Iraq was before we arrived. And it'll cost Arnold more to run
Adding insult to
injury, every tinpot dictator in the world will figure there's little
downside in thumbing his nose at the United States, and, unless he can gin
up a war somewhere else within 13 months (or once again fail to prevent
another 9/11-type attack, God forbid), George W. Bush will probably lose the
August of 2003 brought
two milestones that flow directly from the invasion: the U.S. national
deficit reached an all time high, surpassing for the first time in history
the previous all-time record held by President G.H.W. Bush; and the price of
gasoline hit an all-time high, surpassing the previous record held by
President G.W. Bush.
A small part of the
deficit is related to the cost of the Iraq invasion and occupation, and
roughly 70 percent of the positive uptick in the last quarter's economic
activity was from payments to defense contractors for the invasion itself
(private for-profit Republican-supporting companies get about a third of all
the money we're spending every month in Iraq). Profits from the occupation
help Halliburton, but don't create many jobs in Peoria.
Similarly, while the
price of gasoline is high in part because we've been slow to pump Iraq's oil
(mostly because of looting and sabotage), it'll go even higher if we turn
the administration of the oil over to a UN consortium. Every other
industrialized nation in the world is aggressively working to cut reliance
on oil and is ready for higher crude oil prices; the US under the Bush
administration and their corporate cronies has put forth, instead, an energy
policy that requires increasing amounts of foreign oil imports and will be a
disaster to our nation in the face of sustained high oil prices or oil
At least Bush/Cheney
knew where they'd get the oil to fuel their National Energy Policy.
Documents pried by a Judicial Watch lawsuit against the Cheney energy task
force meetings (at http://www.judicialwatch.org/071703.c_.shtml)
show that Cheney and his buddies from Enron and other energy companies had
drawn up maps of Iraq's oil fields and made lists of potential corporate
purchasers of Iraqi oil - all months before 9/11/01.
These former oil
industry executives know their priorities. When George W. Bush spoke on
national television to announce the start of "war" against Iraq,
he looked into the camera and asked to speak directly to the Iraqi people.
He could have appealed to their nationalism, and asked them to join our
soldiers (or at least not shoot at them) in toppling Saddam. He could have
appealed to their knowledge of the peaceful side of Islam and asked them to
go to their mosques, which we would protect from bombing, and pray for a
quick resolution of the conflict. He could have apologized in advance for
the death and destruction he was about to unleash on their land, that would
kill many times more innocent civilians than died in the World Trade Center,
and promise that the US would do our best to make it good after the war.
But these were not the
things on Bush's mind. Instead, he said, "And all Iraqi military and
civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict,
your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells..."
contribute heavily to Republican campaign coffers are now firmly in control
of Iraq's oil and have started taking payment for reconstruction and supply
that will amount to billions of US tax dollars.
It's unlikely these
multinational corporations (many of them allowed by the Republicans in
Congress to reincorporate in Bermuda to avoid US taxes) will look kindly on
efforts to turn control of Iraq and its oil over to the United Nations or an
Arab-led consortium, even if it will mean stability in the region and will
save the lives of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen, and Iraqi civilians
caught in the crossfire.
If Bush turns the oil
and the reconstruction bonanza over to the UN, he could lose millions in
campaign contributions, and Cheney's company Halliburton, which lost $498
million last year but just reported (July 31) a $26 million profit, may go
back to losing so much money it can't continue the million-dollar-a-year
payoff he's still receiving.
George W. Bush
confronts one of the most difficult choices of his life: Should he turn Iraq
over to the UN and thus save the lives of our men and women in uniform, but
lose the oil, the campaign cash, and probably the election? Or should he
keep our troops in Iraq to protect Halliburton, Bechtel, and his other
Republican corporate campaign donors, skim millions in campaign cash out of
the billions these friendly corporations are being paid by American
taxpayers, and hope all that money can buy enough commercials to make
Americans forget about the price of gasoline, growing Iraqi nationalism, and
the resulting coffins returning to America on a daily basis.
Or maybe there's a
third option. If the American media keep ignoring the oil, don't report on
Bush's unwillingness to attend GI funerals (he'd rather take a month-long
vacation and play golf), and continue to overlook the obvious connections
between Iraqi nationalism and dead Americans, Bush could repeat his very
successful political strategy from the middle of the fall 2002 election
campaign that threw the Senate into Republican hands. He could simply
declare his intention to start another war mid-2004, stimulating anti-war
protests and dividing Americans, and then again use that division to paint
Democrats with a yellow brush.
Which will it be? Only
Karl Rove knows for sure. But whichever way it goes, you can bet American
taxpayers and soldiers will pay the bill in cash and blood, and democracy
will be the weaker for it.
Thom Hartmann (thom
at thomhartmann.com) is the bestselling author of over a dozen books,
including "Unequal Protection" and "The Last Hours of Ancient
Sunlight," and the host of a nationally syndicated daily talk show,
"The Thom Hartmann Program," that runs opposite Rush Limbaugh. www.thomhartmann.com
This article is copyright by Thom Hartmann, but permission is granted for
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