The War Behind the War
“In strict confidence…I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one.”—U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt (in a letter to a friend, 1897)
Many and diverse are the
reasons for war, and rarely are the truest reasons publicly espoused by the
politicians who rattle their sabers for the maddened throng.
Politicians have learned
to coin phrases that boil the blood, or stir the pulse, but these are
emotional, not rational, spurs to battle.
Behind this public
performance, out of the light and the roar of the crowd, the thinkers sit, and
quietly plot great wars and social conflicts, for real, not emotional or
imaginary, profits and the acquisition of greater wealth. For months, this
writer has been seeking evidence of such meetings, but to little avail.
While perusing an article
from the [British] liberal newspaper, The Guardian, from Sept. 2002, I
saw that this London journal reported a meeting of the Royal Institute of
International Affairs there, composed of leading oil executives, Iraqi exiles,
and (of course) international legal experts. The title of the closed-door
confab? “Invading Iraq: Dangers and Opportunities for the Energy Sector.” One
attendee summed up the day’s events with the telling quip: “Who gets the oil?”
And there it is.
The one-time Iraqi deputy
oil minister, Taha Hmud Moussa, speaking before the current conflict ripened,
told reporters in an interview that the nation had a potential yield of 300
billion barrels of oil, “when all of Iraq’s regions are explored.”
If Western oil interests
can get their hands on those reserves (which they lost when Iraq nationalized
their fields in 1972) they expect to be able to produce some 8 million barrels
a day within 10 years. The math answers a lot of questions.
Eight million barrels, at
$30 bucks a barrel, 365 days a year—and you’re looking at $87.6 billion—with a b!)—per
For British and American
oilmen, this is just too much to resist. A war? Hell, they’ll fight 10 wars if
need be (well, not “fight” exactly—but get others to fight). This is a war for
profit writ large.
This is the real “bling!
Many years ago, in
Philadelphia, a man was arrested in a seedy part of town, after a woman escaped
what was described as a “Den of Horrors.” The man, who clearly was mentally
deranged, had locked up, chained, tortured, and killed a number of women in his
basement. When a flashy Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer took his case,
some reporters asked him why he took the case, given the grisly nature of it.
The lawyer flashed a toothy smile, and quipped, “I’ve got a hundred thousand
reasons to.” He was referring to the fact that the man, while deranged, was
also a skillful stock investor, and had garnered several hundred thousand bucks
in dividends from trading.
You want to know the real
reasons for this “Showdown with Saddam,” “Countdown to Baghdad,” and the like? It
is not because, as the president blithely suggests, “Saddam is a bad man.” Nor
is it because, “Saddam tried to kill my Daddy.” It’s not because the people of
Iraq live under a cruel dictator, and we got to bring ’em some “democrisy.”
The Middle East has no
shortage of dictators, some of whom are America’s “staunchest allies.”
It is not because Iraq has used chemical weapons against “its own people.” The Turks, members of NATO and (provisionally) the European Union, are ruthless when it comes to the Kurds, who may not speak their mother tongue, or wear their national colors, for fear of government persecution. (The U.S. “campaign for human rights” conveniently ignores Turkey’s brutal suppression of its Kurdish minority, and the imprisonment of Kurdish political prisoners, like Leyla Zana, the first Kurdish woman elected to the Turkish Parliament. One of the charges was she was “wearing accessories of yellow, green, and red,” or traditional Kurdish colors! She is one of 4 Kurdish legislators imprisoned under such ridiculous charges, but the Bush Regime is mum.)
You want to know the real
reason for the war in Iraq?
They’ve got $87.6 billion
[ Copyright 2003
Mumia Abu-Jamal (column written Jan. 29, 2003)]
Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal (column written Jan. 29, 2003)]