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Make Them Accountable / David Podvin: Exit Strategy

David Podvin: Exit Strategy


By David Podvin
February 26, 2007

When George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13303 that effectively transferred Iraqi oil into American custody it constituted history’s greatest acquisition of wealth. Iraq contains proven oil reserves of 115 billion barrels, and geological surveys indicate that a similar amount of unconfirmed petroleum deposits exist. At current prices, the oil that lies beneath the Iraqi sand is worth approximately fourteen trillion dollars.

If America were to leave Iraq it would constitute history’s greatest forfeiture of wealth, so America will not leave. Although the Democrats are saying the United States must withdraw sooner and the Republicans are saying the United States must withdraw later, it is performance art worthy of Oscar consideration. The American military isn’t going anywhere. Not sooner. Not later. Not ever. America’s exit strategy is to stay, which explains why hugely expensive military bases are being constructed throughout Iraq. The world’s only superpower did not build its financial juggernaut by being the type of impetuous nation that repudiates fourteen trillion dollars.

American soldiers are permanently stationed in more than a hundred countries, so Iraq will be just one more. At some point America will bring the troops home from the Iraqi War in the same way that the troops were recalled from World War II, meaning some of the soldiers will be repatriated while others remain positioned to protect business interests. This scenario will occur because when big money is involved democracy goes on sabbatical. It has been said that had Al Gore won the 2000 election America would not have invaded Iraq, but Al Gore did win the 2000 election and America did invade Iraq. No matter who wins the next election the United States military will grace the Iraqi landscape until the Apocalypse arrives or petroleum becomes worthless.

For the corporatists who run America, the immediate challenge is to craft a plausible narrative that justifies remaining in the Iraqi quagmire. “We stole their oil and fully intend to keep it!” is a substandard patriotic rallying cry. “Their invisible weapons of mass destruction imperil our little children!” has already been tried and found lacking. “It is all about democracy!” now elicits cringes even from the few deceivers still sufficiently brazen to utter the words. “If we don’t fight them over there we will have to fight them over here!” is an unsettling declaration since it focuses attention on the ominous fact that they are outfighting us over there. And so, the strategy is to find another exigent situation requiring military action.

Enter Iran. The Islamic Republic seeks domination of the Middle East but that region happens to be America’s turf, as is every other region. Iran militarily supplies Iraqi terrorists, hoping to drive America out and take all the gorgeous petroleum for itself. That will never happen. An American/Iranian showdown is looming and when it occurs oil prices will skyrocket, making Iraqi crude even more valuable.

Iranian leaders are endangered, just as they were the last time Iran provoked the energy companies. Five decades ago Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh tried to nationalize the petroleum industry. The United States overthrew his government, installed a corporate sycophant, and Mossadegh was marginalized. He was actually quite lucky. Conglomerates became considerably less tolerant in the years that followed. When Patrice Lumumba and Salvador Allende swashbuckingly confronted Corporate America they were murdered. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have chosen their enemies most unwisely.

The American public is expressing considerable anxiety about attacking Iran, but business invented the concept that with a little marketing razzle-dazzle any sales resistance can be overcome. It doesn’t hurt that the Islamic Republic is a villain straight from Central Casting. If the Iranian regime were an actor it would be Christopher Walken, foregoing the sympathetic roles in favor of portraying loathsome psychopaths. Its religious leader plaintively yearns for the end times, and its political leader openly admires Hitler’s body of work. The Iranian theocracy ponders nuclear genocide abroad, while at home the mullahs execute women for having premarital sex.

Legitimate cause exists to insure that Iran does not acquire the Iraqi oil. Doing so would give the Iranians considerable influence on the world economy and enable them to advance their jihadist agenda. Of course, the only reason Iran perceives a chance to grab Iraqi oil is that Bush destabilized Iraq. The common denominator of each Bush decision has been that it furthers the interests of the petroleum industry, which would dearly love to see $100 per barrel oil posthaste. Attaining that goal will require attacking Iran.

Therefore, Corporate America will have its Madison Avenue subsidiary regenerate war fever. It should not be a hard sell. The American people love war…on average, the United States has engaged in a new armed-conflict every nine years. Americans are dissatisfied with the Iraq War only because they hate losing, so Republicans can rebound from the Iraqi misadventure by crushing Iran. This calculation embodies the true Reagan Doctrine: after being humiliated in Lebanon, the Gipper transformed defeat into victory by routing Grenada and the GOP won the next election.

While Iran is no Grenada, it is also no match for the American colossus. Although the Iranians have substantial ground forces the United States does not need to engage them. The probable strategy consists of disabling Iran’s Russian-supplied air defense system and then bombing Tehran into submission. The U.S. military required an infantry offensive to conquer Iraq only because the Air Force pulled its punches. When America’s flyboys are unrestrained, they provide conclusive firepower. Ask the Japanese.

The recurring plot resolution of modernity is that Big Business ultimately prevails. Petroleum’s ever-increasing value makes it an irresistible object of corporate desire, so in the end Middle Eastern oil will not belong to Middle Easterners. The American people have long benefited from this robber baron version of Eminent Domain. Escorted by the greatest war machine ever, the Fortune 500 appropriates essential resources around the world and industriously exploits them, thereby generating incomparable prosperity at home. Everyone who matters wins.

If historical form holds true in the Middle East, the biggest winners will be the energy conglomerates and the biggest losers will be the leaders of Iran. The Iranian masses will likely be liberated from the repressive regime Jimmy Carter bestowed upon them, but liberation will come at a horrible cost. Meanwhile, Iraqis will continue to suffer. When Bush conquered Iraq he plunged that land into a gruesome nightmare from which it will not soon recover.

And what of God’s favorite nation? Americans will continue to experience all the benefits and heartaches that accompany living in a corporate democracy. The infinitely wealthy will become infinitely wealthier. Common citizens will subsist on the crumbs of plunder, which are not inconsiderable. Patriots will dutifully vote in elections that affect social issues but have zero impact upon matters of great wealth like wars and trade agreements and illegal immigration. Through it all, the American people will avert their collective gaze from reality. As every mafia wife can attest, some things are best left unknown.


Building permanent U.S. bases in Iraq sends wrong signal


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Comments (5) left to “David Podvin: Exit Strategy”

  1. Oldsalt3 wrote:

    You’ve called it right – all of it! And now that the oil revenues are being talked about with many of the later distributions of oil and money to outside corporations that the Iraqis know nothing about, there’s still plenty of fighting in the future for the soldiers that will live in those large bases!

  2. Larry Bergan wrote:

    The article makes perfect sense. I hate this!

  3. Cole... wrote:

    This is a nation born from the simple dislike of an unfair ‘tea tax’ imposed by a foreign ruler, how ironic it is to impose unfair property theft on another.

  4. caro wrote:

    This evening I’ll post an article from the Black Agenda Report about the permanent bases we’re building in Africa–in countries that have oil, of course.

  5. M. Pall wrote:

    Executive order 13303 was not the greatest “acquisition of wealth,” it was the largest theft in history. And they said it wasn’t about the oil. It’s only about the oil.

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