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Sunday, August 26, 2007

To Be Worn With Pride

Tinfoil Hat
Tinfoil hat courtesy of

A great many of my posts have been on the subject of the
bases of the Iraqupation and our shameless
and bloody grab for the dwindling pools of the world's oil. I have only been blogging since February of this year, but I remember all too well those of us who were pointing out that the aggression towards Iraq was about the oil. And I remember all too well how we were characterized as conspiracy theorists and simpletons:
The anti-war Left, then, sees the oil factor in overly simplistic terms. In their anti-corporate, anti-capitalist demonology, all oil companies are evil, by definition, and in collusion with the US government to profit through war. In this case, however, as we have seen, there are competing factions within the corporate elite, each contending for the prize, and bidding for support from the US government.
This is from an anti-war blogger, back in December of 2001. Frankly I don't see how his going on about competing interests is germaine to the central point - the U.S., regardless of how many spices are in the Empire stew, deploys taxpayer-supported might for economic purposes. In a related vein, he claims [emphases original]:
The leftist dogma that it doesn't matter which wing of the "ruling class," the capitalists, wins out in the end is refuted by this reality. Capitalism, per se, doesn't breed war: indeed, laissez-faire requires quite the opposite. And don't think the ordinary capitalist profits from war: this privilege is reserved for those with the right government connections.

The very real economic harm done by war – the cost in wasted wealth, as well as wasted lives – could pull the US, already mired in a sharp recession, into a full-fledged depression. The stock market is not going to like World War III...
I'll get back to this "the market hates war" business in a minute, but today I want to celebrate a wider acceptance amongst "serious (leftist) people" that we are indeed engaged in a naked theft of other people's natural resources for the most despicable of reasons, however historically traditional they turn out to be (and they are very traditional.)

It seems we have a freshman Democratic Congresswoman who refused to be blinkered by the Powerpoint presentations of the military brass in her maiden visit to occupied Iraq. I spotted this via Pachacutec at FireDogLake [emphases mine]:
But the real test came over a lunch with Gen. David H. Petraeus, who used charts and a laser pointer to show how security conditions were gradually improving — evidence, he argued, that the troop increase is doing some good.

Still, the U.S. commander cautioned, it could take another decade before real stability is at hand. Schakowsky gasped. “I come from an environment where people talk nine to 10 months,” she said, referring to the time frame for withdrawal that many Democrats are advocating. “And there he was, talking nine to 10 years.”


...the military presentations left her stunned. Schakowsky said she jotted down Petraeus’s words in a small white notebook she had brought along to record her impressions. Her neat, looping handwriting filled page after page, and she flipped through to find the Petraeus section. ” ‘We will be in Iraq in some way for nine to 10 years,’ ” Schakowsky read carefully. She had added her own translation: “Keep the train running for a few months, and then stretch it out. Just enough progress to justify more time.”
This, from Digby (Digby!) [emphasis mine]:
Why permanent bases? I think the great sage and oracle Ann Coulter said it best:
"Liberals are always talking about why we shouldn't go to war for oil, but why not go to war for oil? We need oil."
That's pretty much what we did and deep down we all know it. The usual dirty hippy conspiracy theories. Sure, there were other reasons. All the grown-ups had at least a few. Some may not have acknowledged this one, even in their own minds. But this was the fundamental reason, beyond "suck on this," beyond Osama, certainly beyond "spreadin' Demahcracy." We know for a fact that if Iraq had been Liberia or Rwanda or Darfur or even Pakistan we wouldn't have interfered. There are Saddams and Taylors and Liberias all over the world.

The world is running out of oil and the US government wanted to insure that they had a permanent beachhead in the biggest oil rich region in the world...
I wonder what would have happened if they'd spent the trillion or two (by the time it's all done) on alternative energy instead.?
Actually, ma'am, nothing of significance, but that is another aside I will address later on.

Also, via Crooks and Liars (welcome back, Mike Finnigan!), we have this from Lambert at Corrente:
Silly. The idea was to make another Friedman Unit’s worth of war profits. And that will be the idea for the next F.U., and the next F.U., and the next, and the next...


Yep. If the Beltway Consensus holds, we’re in there for as long as the money holds out. Good to know.


It’s all crap. The chain of command is deliberately confused and the accountability obfuscated so the lying and looting—the real purpose of the endeavor—can continue unabated. Smedley Butler, thou shouldst be with us in this hour…
Lambert links above ("real purpose") to a Rolling Stone Magazine feature, "The Great Iraq Swindle" - a great piece to read as I segue to my first aside, a response to the assertion up top that "the market hates war."

Anybody remember the neutron bomb? I remember back in the '60's that the popular image of it was one which could kill populations and still leave the infrastructure intact. This is not entirely true, but this view informed a particular argument over how evil this was - the ability to kill people and save precious dollars on reconstruction. Well, I think the "market" has figured out that reconstruction is very, very profitable, so the evil goes on, squared. Breaking things and then rebuilding them, especially when both activities are directed by the same cadre of greedheads, has turned into a marvelous thing for Wall Street (update: no matter how shabbily done.) So much for how "the market hates war."

I've already gone on too long for this post, but I wanted to address Digby's question:
I wonder what would have happened if they'd spent the trillion or two... on alternative energy instead.?
I've ranted posted on alternative energy before - mostly biofuels, but the principle is the same for all.
Fine, here's the math. All life on this planet is fueled by annual sunlight. The "biomass" we've been harvesting - oil - was fueled by sunlight past. As in long, ancient past. Once we begin burning currently fueled biomass (i.e., corn, animal fats, etc.), then we will see the math - you only get so much solar energy a year. Period. And that quantity pales in the face of the vast amounts we have become dependant upon this past 150 years...
Unless we learn how to use the ergs that Nature gives us at the rate they are provided, then this foolishness will continue until this reality is forced upon us.

We're not eating the seed corn, we're burning it.

Update: John Amato is on the Schakowsky story today, too.

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