March 28 2002
Now that the U.S. invasion of Iraq is in progress, here are some facts that I find revealing:
- Dick Cheney left his lucrative position as CEO of Halliburton (cashing in his stock options and clearing more than $20 million before taking office) to become the U.S. Vice President. Which company was just awarded the multibillion-dollar contract to rebuild the Iraqi oil infrastructure after the war? You guessed it: Halliburton. Cheney’s company. And how many other companies were allowed to bid for this insanely lucrative contract? You guessed it again: Zero.
But this is nothing new. The Financial Times of London reports that right up until election day 2000, Halliburton sold more oil-field technology to Saddam Hussein than any other U.S. corporation did. United Nations records show that Halliburton signed contracts to sell more than $73 million in oil-production equipment and spare parts to Iraq while Cheney was chairman and chief executive officer of the Dallas-based company. Halliburton formed a joint venture with dozens of American and foreign oil companies, which helped Iraq increase its crude-oil exports from $4 billion in 1997 to nearly $18 billion in 2000. During that time, Iraq has exported oil worth more than $40 billion.
So, to recap: Under Cheney, Halliburton sold oil equipment to Hussein and helped Hussein reap billions of dollars in profit. Under Cheney, the U.S. government launched a massive and unprovoked attack on Cheney’s former customer. And under Cheney, the U.S. government then contracted to shell out billions of dollars to Cheney’s cronies to repair oil equipment damaged by U.S. attacks. Who profits from this incestuous, circuitous strategy? Iraq (for a short while), Cheney, and Halliburton’s executives. So much for the "corporate accountability" Bush and Cheney gave lip service to when the Enron scandal broke.
- Iraq is the Mideast’s No. 2 supplier of oil, behind Saudi Arabia. The United States, guzzling a quarter of the world’s oil production, is the world’s No. 1 consumer. The U.S. President and Vice President are longtime oil businessmen. Connect the dots, and the picture is clearly one of U.S. foreign policy being shaped by two men who want to conquer a small nation that happens to contain very large oil deposits--and, of course, help their pals can make a quick buck off the war.
- Bush’s televised advice to Iraqi troops and government officials included a prominent and stern warning to NOT burn or otherwise destroy oil fields.
- The very first combat casualty was a U.S. Marine attempting to take an oil field.
- The U.S. administration has announced that it will run postwar Iraq by itself, without help or advice from the U.N. Thus the conquering empire delivers its self-serving edicts to the world.
- Although several Iraqi facilities have been captured that were suspected of having or manufacturing "weapons of mass destruction," the Bush administration still cannot produce any solid evidence that such weapons actually exist.
Lest you think I’m a conspiracy nut, consider these prescient words from U.S. Republican Congressman Ron Paul (Texas), 29 Nov. 2001:
"Ulterior motives have always played a part in the foreign policy of almost every nation throughout history.... Iraq has been uncooperative with the UN World Order and remains independent of western control of its oil reserves, unlike Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. This is why she has been bombed steadily for 11 years by the U.S. and Britain. My guess is that in the not-too-distant future, so-called proof will be provided that Saddam Hussein was somehow partially responsible for the attack in the United States, and it will be irresistible then for the U.S. to retaliate against him. This will greatly and dangerously expand the war and provoke even greater hatred toward the United States.... Even today, the current crisis threatens the overthrow of every puppet pro-western Arab leader from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.... Iran and Russia will not be pleased with this move... the [U.S. has] troops in 141 countries... engaged in every conceivable conflict with 250,000 troops stationed abroad.... Turkey’s support is crucial, so the plan is to give Turkey oil from the northern Iraq Karuk oilfield...."
And here’s a potent passage written by Congressman Paul before our government violated the U.N. charter by invading Iraq:
"The rule of law separates civilized societies from despotic societies. Unlike Iraq, the United States is a nation of laws, not men. We are blessed to live under the Constitution, rather than under a King or dictator. Yet if we blatantly violate the Constitution by pursuing an undeclared war, we violate the rule of law. We invite the President, and future Presidents, to act in an imperial manner. We damage the separation of powers that is so critical to our freedom. We act more like Iraq than [like] the United States of America when we ignore the Constitution."
On top of everything else, U.S. officials are displaying an alarming level of petulance, arrogance, and hypocrisy in their public statements. They also seem to have scant knowledge of U.S. military history. For example:
- Officials complaining of Iraqis dressed in civilian clothing attacking U.S. troops have clearly forgotten one of the most significant tactics used by Americans against the British during the Revolutionary War. Remember learning about how heroic U.S. rebels ambushed British soldiers at Lexington and Concord? Even the recent Mel Gibson movie The Patriot correctly shows the main character in civilian dress, with fellow farmers, ambushing and mercilessly slaughtering uniformed Englishmen. It was a successful tactic because the Brits were accustomed to traditional regimented fighting. Having won our own independence by using guerrilla warfare, we now have the nerve to criticize the Iraqis for using the same tactics to defend themselves.
- Officals grousing about Iraqi soldiers firing at U.S. troops from civilian structures such as farmhouses seem stunningly ignorant of typical ground-combat actions. Even a cursory review of WWII, as well as movies like Saving Private Ryan, shows that taking a defensive position in a civilian building is a basic, time-honored tactic in warfare. Was Tom Hanks’ ambush of the Germans at the end of Private Ryan cowardly?
- Officials who denounce Iraqi TV’s broadcasting images of American POWs, claiming that it violates the Geneva Convention, are apparently not watching CNN and other U.S. TV stations--which are proudly showing footage of Iraqi prisoners! Cognitive dissonance, anyone?
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