"Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded
by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling
nations be outraged in the process... the doors of the
nations which are closed must be battered down."
-- Woodrow Wilson, lecture
(Columbia University) 1907-- [fr. Zinn, "A People's History of the United States" (1995), p. 353]
For many Americans, perhaps millions, what lay beneath the alleged threat of Iraq, was the tempting possibility of U.S. control of oil. "No Blood for Oil," became a powerful rallying cry that echoed around the world.
The events following the so-called 'liberation' of Iraq has revealed that our perception was too narrow. While oil is indeed precious to the 'oil-igarchy' in the White House and the State Department, that does not begin to tell the story.
To paraphrase the legendary 'boy-General' (of the Civil War) and notorious George Armstrong Custer when he escorted troops and businessmen to the sacred *Paha Sapa* (Black Hills): "Boys, there's gold in them thar hills!"
There's plenty of dough to be made in the dusty ruins of Iraq.
The politically-connected Bechtel Corporation was given the go-ahead by the US Agency for International Development (AID) to rebuild Iraqi infrastructure. Bechtel will make some $680 million (at the very least). Dick Cheney's former company, Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, has been granted the right to take over the oilfields of Iraq, a project certainly worth billions. The Pentagon gave a contract to the telecommunications giant, MCI, to construct an Iraqi wireless network. The fee? Around $45 million.
What we are witnessing in the shattered ruins of Iraq is the spoils of war; spoils that are the seeds of vast wealth. Of course, Administration officials are putting quite a different spin on this development. In a speech made several months ago before the conservative American Enterprise Institute, neoconservative thinker, Richard Perle observed, "What I think we have won on the battlefield is the right to try to establish consistent policies that are for the benefit of the people of Iraq." He hastened to add, "It's not that we are looking for anything for ourselves..." The U.S. role was described as a "stewardship" over the conquered territory.
The U.S., of course, doesn't have to 'look[...] for anything.' It already has what it wants.
It has Iraq.
And despite the recent 'warming' at the G-8 Summit in Evian, the U.S. intends to leave France and Germany out in the cold when it comes to the goodies that Iraq offers.
War has once again proven that it is good business... for some. Of course, forgotten in that calculation is the Iraqi people, and the people of the region, who are being forced to quake in fear that they will become the next (or latest) demonstration war that the Empire wages to keep its subject peoples in line. To hundreds of American families, who have lost a loved one in the Adventure in Iraq, their hearts must swell with bitterness to know that their familial sacrifice was not for 'democracy', nor to 'prevent terrorism', but to fill the coffers of the corporations that swelled the satchels of politicians during the late so-called Election.
Over a century ago, virtually the entire continent of Africa (with the exception of Ethiopia) was colonized by European nations like England, France, Portugal and Germany. The Europeans tried to justify their colonial acquisitions with claims of bringing 'civilization' to the benighted natives. What they brought was massive exploitation, the delusion of white supremacy, and oceans of death and destruction. When Africans fought for their freedom and the colonies were given up, the colonies were left with wrecked economies, very few educated people, and the long legacy of corruption. Many African countries still suffer under the shadow of that unfortunate inheritance.
What we are witnessing in this hour is a new imperialism.
Iraq is reduced to rubble, and American corporations make a mint by rebuilding it. All of this, we are assured, is to benefit 'the People of Iraq.'
Haven't we heard this tale before?
Copyright 2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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Mumia Abu-Jamal is the author of three books:
'Live from Death Row',
'Death Blossoms', and
'All Things Censored'.