Tuesday, May 08, 2007


"Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."
~ Mark Twain.

I was thinking about that oil article by Michael Schwartz that I posted yesterday from TomDispatch, particularly this:

Knowledge of this level of [Iraqi oil] underproduction was certainly one factor in Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz's pre-war prediction that the administration's invasion and occupation of Iraq would pay for itself; he hoped for a quick postwar increase in production to 3.5 million barrels per day or, at the $30 per barrel price of oil at that time, close to $40 billion per year in revenues. An expected expansion in production levels (once the oil giants were brought into the mix) to perhaps 6.5 million barrels, through the development of new oil fields or more efficient exploitation of existing fields, had the potential to more than cover the expected American short-term military costs and leave the new Iraqi government flush as well.

And then, this, from a link within the Schwartz article:

The economic restructuring of Iraq to benefit foreign investors was most likely one of the main motivations for the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq – or at least a highly profitable windfall. The fact that Paul Wolfowitz, the newly appointed president of the World Bank, was one of the major architects of the invasion only heightens the probability of a conscious plan on the part of the Bush administration. With the goal of maintaining U.S. control over the resources of Iraq after the occupation, installing Wolfowitz – a leading member of the Project for a New American Century and already on record as an advocate of expanding U.S. influence and dedicating foreign policy to the service of U.S. interests – at the head of the World Bank makes perfect sense.

It is clear that the consequences of the U.S. occupation, and of the subsequent economic occupation and restructuring of the country in the interests of foreign investors by the IMF and World Bank, will last well after the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Getting US troops out of Iraq, while an important first step towards winning self-determination for Iraq, is exactly that – a first step. If the U.S. anti-war movement is serious about standing in solidarity with the people of Iraq, and challenging the deep-rooted economic motivations of an interventionist U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and around the world, then it needs to make resistance to the neoliberal economic agenda of so-called international institutions a central plank of its campaign.

Note that Kurdish workers' unions have signed the statement at the bottom of that page.

What made me think about these things was a piece of news today about the threat of the loss of credibility--what little there is, anyway--of the World Bank, from the WaPo, carried on MSNBC:

The sense of turmoil surrounding the bank intensified yesterday with the resignation of a senior Wolfowitz aide, Kevin Kellems.

[ . . . ]

Kellems previously worked for Wolfowitz as a special adviser at the Pentagon during planning for the Iraq war. He later served as communications director for Vice President Cheney and was one of a handful of senior advisers Wolfowitz brought to the World Bank, provoking complaints among staff that the new president was using the institution to further the Bush administration's agenda.

As they say, "Where there's smoke, there's fire." By the end of the day, the ethics panel that had been investigating Wolfowitz and his girlfriend found him guilty of a conflict of interest. The roar of "Resignation!" grew louder as European leaders moved toward open revolt, demanding Wolfowitz's resignation. Looks like Germany's leading the charge and that the orders are coming from Angela Merkel herself.

Iraqi unions plan to strike on Thursday against the oil law; I think they are right to do so and I hope the Kurdish unions will join in the strike.

I'm wondering how much of the "insurgency" is a result of the American and British administrations' efforts to claim Iraqi and Kurdish oil for multinational corporations? Certainly there are other issues among the ethnic groups of Iraq, but how easily could compromises be reached if the threat of Western oil-thieving were nixed from the equation?

I'm also wondering about the manufactured hysteria over Iran, and how much that has to do with American and British desires to "privatize" Iranian oil, as both the US and Britain have done in the past.

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