«Bumbling» one's way to power and profits in Iraq...

4 November 2006.

  • Yesterday, the Asian Times took the unusual step for this journal of publishing a leader (editorial) entitled Iraq: Bush has a plan, and it's working, the object of which seems to be to counter that self-serving commonplace of mass media spin (not merely in the US, but here in Europe as well), which maintains that the motives of US foreign policy are basically benevolent, but that implementation, as in all human endeavours, can sometimes leave something to be desired - the «bumbling benevolent giant» view of US foreign policy. To the editors of the A-Times, the wellsprings of US policy in Iraq have little to do with the pure water of democracy, but with another and more viscous liquid :
    A strategy of fomenting chaos makes perfect sense in a twisted sort of way: a stable, autonomous Iraq means oil will be pumped, bringing down international crude prices, and that's the last thing the Bush administration's backers want. Who are the administration's backers, and who has a hotline to the presidency, via Vice President Dick Cheney? Big Oil.
    «Consider», the paper asks its readers, «these well-known facts»:

  • Cheney was formerly chief executive officer of oil-services company Halliburton, which, incidentally, was found by a 2003 Pentagon audit to have overcharged the US government by US$61 million for delivering gasoline to Iraq.

  • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sat on Chevron's board of directors from 1991 to 2001, and Chevron named an oil tanker after her.

  • James A Baker III, secretary of state for Bush's father and now "fixer" for the Bush family, has been appointed co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, charged with advising Bush Jr on future Iraq policy. His law firm, Baker Botts, was ranked by Who's Who Legal last year as "Global Oil and Gas Law Firm of the Year". His clients include the royal family of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries kingpin Saudi Arabia.

  • Bush himself was a Texas oilman, though not a very successful one. Ever heard of Bush's company, Arbusto? Probably not. Arbusto was going busto before it eventually ended up in the hands of Harken Energy in 1986. Harken gave Bush a seat on the board, some stock options and a $120,000 consulting contract. The energy industry pumped $2.8 million into Bush's 2000 campaign.
  • As the A-Times points out, these facts are «well-known», and should come as a surprise to no one whose knowledge of US politics is not limited to Fox News or newspaper headlines. But aside from the obvious economic benefits to the «decider» and his courtiers of US policy in Iraq, which has been less than «benevolent» to those Iraqis who made up the over half a million «excess deaths» which more than three years of warfare have brought to their country, there are other considerations, both foreign and domestic, which, in my judgement, certainly played vital roles in the decision to pursue an illegal and unnecessary war. Below, my response to the leader, in a letter to the A-Times (which, nota bene, has a new address for such correspondence - writeto@atimes.com) - which I took the liberty of copying to StumbleUpon :

To the editor :

Whether or not the present plan, which the A-Times leader describes in some detail, is Plan A or Plan B, the fact of the matter is that those who determine US policy profit from it immensely, not only economically, as there pointed out, but also politically, as the war - and in particular the «failure» in the war - «justifies» ever more extensive limitations on the liberties of not only foreigners (who as «enemy combatants» have «no rights which the white man was bound to respect»), but also to citizens of the United States itself. The right of habeas corpus is no longer a given, and the vast domestic prison industry - a «growth industry» whose staying power makes IT development look like a bubble and which incarcerates nearly one per cent of the US population - is shadowed by a secret chain of foreign detention centres, in which, presumably (we are not allowed to know), private enterprise plays, as it does at home, an ever more important role. Admittedly, the Bush regime has not succeeded in bring democracy to Iraq, but it must be recognised that has done a brilliant job of exporting it from the United States. All this, not to mention the benefit to the Imperial power (a k a the «Unitary Executive») of a classic divide et impera strategy which, in dividing not Gallia but Mesopotamia in partes tres, removes a hinder to the rule of the chosen regional satrap, Israel, and makes possible a move against the one remaining obstacle to total dominance, Iran....

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