Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the (redacted)

Those few who've been familiar with Untethered for a while (Hello, Uncle Morty!) know that I have long believed that the Iraq war is ultimately, simply, about oil, despite the WMD/terrorist hysteria, despite the Administration's sophomoric, Gersonian rhetoric asserting the goal of "ending tyranny in our world" by toppling nations that appeared to be arbitrarily assigned to a grand-sounding "axis of evil", despite the tendency of my intellectual betters to deride such dull, Occam-esque logic as unimaginatively provincial, despite even the perversely appealing (to my cynical nature at least) Seinfeldian "war about nothing." It's still a lot more fun to debate nuanced ideology than to recognize simple, coarse interest, especially when that interest traces back to each one of us. Mostly the war's true importance has so far resisted widespread acknowledgement because of its sheer, unremitting ugliness. As for me, I've always had sympathy for the homely, so if I'm wrong there's your culprit.

I had been bleating away at this until exhaustion set in a few months ago (forget about evil only requiring that "good men do nothing"; it also relies heavily on that far greater mass of which I am a part, lazy and indifferent men quickly fatigued or bored) and I lost interest (Sitemeter indicates sometime after you, dear reader). Fortunately, about this time the NAACP and assorted cohorts lobbed the dual absurdities of the heroic Jena Six and the Great Noose Scourge of 2007 over the net, providing welcome fodder to complement my meager output of reworked material and mostly unloved fictional, hallucinatory interludes. Public farces, God bless them, are like buses, if you miss one another will be along shortly.

Today's non-binding declaration of principles between President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, should it manage to survive negotiations and debate in Iraqi Parliament (but, apparently, not in our own Congress; maybe I have been hasty in my ridicule of the Iraqi democratization project, which seems to have surpassed our own, perhaps as the two are heading in opposite directions) would establish Iraq as a client state of the United States, laying the legal foundation for a long term military presence in Iraq and favorable status for American investment.

When actors can't be trusted to tell the truth (which might be always regarding international affairs) we must give explanatory primacy to actions, not words. Thus we follow the course of interest that still, as always, drives national behavior, behind which ideology, rhetoric, and opportunistic political posturing trail like a disorganized, cacophonous brass band.

The occupation (anticipated to be much less costly in money, troops, and prestige; in fact envisioned as "paying for itself" financially and paying off handsomely geopolitically) itself and the favorable (to us) lifting of the interwar sanctions (the Iraq war will eventually be recognized as encompassing the first Persian Gulf war, the interwar years, and the present occupation) has always been the point of the invasion. This military presence is needed to maintain our hegemony in the region, a hegemony necessitated by oil (and complicated by Israel). Iraq was chosen to replace the presence in Saudi Arabia we forfeited after 9/11 (a concession to al Qaeda of which I'm sure Rudy Guiliani is blissfully unaware), a presence, again, necessitated by oil.

As the original lie, we had to invade Iraq to protect ourselves, morphs into the more plausible we must stay to head off the dire consequences of failure, the unspeakable truth becomes harder to conceal; total failure in Iraq is unthinkable because of all the oil in the ground, and the prospect that it will fall into the hands of a hostile government, or a collection of dueling warlords.

And still, the consequences that we have a duty to bring about, consequences visited upon those who actively sought to mislead the country into a disastrous war that has claimed countless thousands of innocent lives and may have precipitated irreversible decline in U.S. prestige aren't even hinted at in the mainstream media. Such talk is derided as the ravings of "kooks" such as your humble author.

If you consider my description of Iraq being groomed as a "client state" a bit much, consider that the first article of today's declaration commits us not only to defense of Iraq from outside threats, but also against "internal threats." Notable also is its provision establishing a favored status for American investment. We are further committed to upholding the Iraqi Constitution against, among other things, attempts to "impede" it. Oh the irony.

Conservatives used to be fond of saying that nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. There is no better example of that old saw's validity than the fraud being perpetuated at this moment in Iraq, by a Republican administration. Recently I wrote that "what we have is less a failing war than a government program experiencing cost overruns"; the declaration of principles, the purpose of which is clearly to mandate an open-ended U.S. military presence regardless of conditions in Iraq, only solidifies this belief.

Nowhere have I yet heard the suggestion that improving conditions on the ground in Iraq should be treated as the opportunity to extricate ourselves; on the contrary, any parameter showing improvement is used to justify continuing an open-ended occupation.

The timing of the negotiations of the declaration of principles, coinciding with the presidential election, presages a more or less concerted effort not only by the Fox News/talk-radio complex, but also by establishment media, such as the Washington Post and New York Times, to pressure the presumptive Democratic nominee to sign on to a long term occupation, if not to simply present her with it as a fait accompli. It will be gruesome entertainment to watch.

Combine this with the newfound tendency of establishment "conservatives" to characterize Hillary Clinton as a "serious" and "responsible" foreign policy thinker because she shows no willingness to significantly question the foreign policy status quo and its attendant erosion of constitutional protections, and her gleeful bludgeoning of the freshman senator from Illinois for his enthusiasm for promiscuous diplomacy, and it's hard not to think that the fix, of a sort, is in, whether the fixers understand it or not.

Forgive the rambling post.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Make me want to holler, Creflo Dollar! Your post, Mr. Dale, echoes some themes by Patrick Foy here: think.

http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/was_it_the_oil_all_along

Anyhow, it makes me want to upchuck. I oppose the war for a variety of reasons, but I've never been able to get my brain around the reason we went there in the first place, until now. Again, I'm nauseated.

Dennis Dale said...

Nausea is a common reaction to posts here.