September 07, 2003

Blood, Oil, and Tears - and the 2004 Bush Campaign Strategy

Well, tonight, the _resident will start his Orwellian
revision not of the past, but of the real-time
present...For a bitter laugh, un-mute the sound for
the propapunditgandist post-mortem...Look for the
presence of anyone with any courage or intelligence
allowed to speak into a microphone...You will not hear
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) or Marine General Anthony
Zinni, you will not hear Cynthia McKinnery (D-GA) or
Max Cleland (D-GA) or Mario Coumo...No, at the most,
you will hear the pretend "liberals" like Margaret
Carlson, George Stop&Laugh@Us, and maybe Joe Leiberman
("D"-Sanctimonicutt)...You won't hear anything like
the following...
Blood, Oil, and Tears - and the 2004 Bush Campaign Strategy
by Thom Hartmann

The two words we never hear in the corporate media's
discussion of Iraq are "oil" and "nationalism." Yet
these are the keys to understanding why we got into
Iraq, why we only want "limited" involvement from the
U.N., why we won't succeed in stopping attacks against
us in Iraq, and why George W. Bush's crony capitalism
and aircraft-carrier-landing phony-warrior drama have
so terribly harmed our nation and set up a disaster
for our children's generation.

If we stay, we'll continue to control ten percent of
the world's oil (and perhaps as much as twenty percent
- Iraq still has vast unexplored areas that Cheney was
dividing up in his pre-9/11 Energy Task Force meetings
with Halliburton and Enron). Maintaining control of
Iraq's oil will keep OPEC off balance, and will keep
faith with Rupert Murdoch's advice to George W. Bush
before the war that cheap oil resulting from seizing
Iraq's oil fields would help the American economy more
than any tax cuts.

(Actually, we should stop calling our invasion of Iraq
a "war" - we'd already crippled the nation with 12
years of attacks and sanctions, and then sent the UN
in to verify that they were helpless. It's like
beating somebody senseless on the street, breaking
both their legs with a baseball bat, blindfolding
them, and then challenging them to fight. This was an
invasion, not a war.)

Thus, keeping control of Iraq's oil will help us keep
our SUVs and keep faith with Poppy Bush's famous
dictum that "the American lifestyle is not
negotiable." And transferring the money from Iraq's
oil to large corporations that heavily support
Republican candidates has obvious benefits to those
currently in control of the White House, Senate,
House, and Supreme Court.

But let's consider the future. Our occupation troops
are mostly European-, Hispanic-, and
African-American-ancestry Christians in an Arab Muslim
land that suffered during the Crusades. Thus, we will
continue to draw thousands of Jehadists who find it
infinitely easier to travel to Iraq than New York, and
our presence will continue to inflame nationalists
passions just as the British did in their failed
venture in Iraq nearly a century ago. And George W.
Bush will probably lose the 2004 election, unless he
can divert our attention by ginning up a war somewhere
else within 13 months.

On the other hand, if we declare victory and leave
Iraq to its warlords and zealots (as we've done in
almost all of Afghanistan except the city of Kabul),
we'll lose access to all that oil, re-empower OPEC,
further drive up domestic gasoline prices, and leave
Iraq either as a warlord-dominated state like
Afghanistan, a cleric-dominated state like Iran, or a
strongman-dominated state like...well...Iraq was
before we arrived. And it'll cost Arnold more to run
his Hummer.

Adding insult to injury, every tinpot dictator in the
world will figure there's little downside in thumbing
his nose at the United States, and, unless he can gin
up a war somewhere else within 13 months (or once
again fail to prevent another 9/11-type attack, God
forbid), George W. Bush will probably lose the 2004

August of 2003 brought two milestones that flow
directly from the invasion: the U.S. national deficit
reached an all time high, surpassing for the first
time in history the previous all-time record held by
President G.H.W. Bush; and the price of gasoline hit
an all-time high, surpassing the previous record held
by President G.W. Bush.

A small part of the deficit is related to the cost of
the Iraq invasion and occupation, and roughly 70
percent of the positive uptick in the last quarter's
economic activity was from payments to defense
contractors for the invasion itself (private
for-profit Republican-supporting companies get about a
third of all the money we're spending every month in
Iraq). Profits from the occupation help Halliburton,
but don't create many jobs in Peoria.

Similarly, while the price of gasoline is high in part
because we've been slow to pump Iraq's oil (mostly
because of looting and sabotage), it'll go even higher
if we turn the administration of the oil over to a UN
consortium. Every other industrialized nation in the
world is aggressively working to cut reliance on oil
and is ready for higher crude oil prices; the US under
the Bush administration and their corporate cronies
has put forth, instead, an energy policy that requires
increasing amounts of foreign oil imports and will be
a disaster to our nation in the face of sustained high
oil prices or oil shortages.

At least Bush/Cheney knew where they'd get the oil to
fuel their National Energy Policy. Documents pried by
a Judicial Watch lawsuit against the Cheney energy
task force meetings (at show
that Cheney and his buddies from Enron and other
energy companies had drawn up maps of Iraq's oil
fields and made lists of potential corporate
purchasers of Iraqi oil - all months before 9/11/01.

These former oil industry executives know their
priorities. When George W. Bush spoke on national
television to announce the start of "war" against
Iraq, he looked into the camera and asked to speak
directly to the Iraqi people. He could have appealed
to their nationalism, and asked them to join our
soldiers (or at least not shoot at them) in toppling
Saddam. He could have appealed to their knowledge of
the peaceful side of Islam and asked them to go to
their mosques, which we would protect from bombing,
and pray for a quick resolution of the conflict. He
could have apologized in advance for the death and
destruction he was about to unleash on their land,
that would kill many times more innocent civilians
than died in the World Trade Center, and promise that
the US would do our best to make it good after the

But these were not the things on Bush's mind. Instead,
he said, "And all Iraqi military and civilian
personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In
any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do
not destroy oil wells..."

Corporations that contribute heavily to Republican
campaign coffers are now firmly in control of Iraq's
oil and have started taking payment for reconstruction
and supply that will amount to billions of US tax

It's unlikely these multinational corporations (many
of them allowed by the Republicans in Congress to
reincorporate in Bermuda to avoid US taxes) will look
kindly on efforts to turn control of Iraq and its oil
over to the United Nations or an Arab-led consortium,
even if it will mean stability in the region and will
save the lives of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen,
and Iraqi civilians caught in the crossfire.

If Bush turns the oil and the reconstruction bonanza
over to the UN, he could lose millions in campaign
contributions, and Cheney's company Halliburton, which
lost $498 million last year but just reported (July
31) a $26 million profit, may go back to losing so
much money it can't continue the million-dollar-a-year
payoff he's still receiving.

George W. Bush confronts one of the most difficult
choices of his life: Should he turn Iraq over to the
UN and thus save the lives of our men and women in
uniform, but lose the oil, the campaign cash, and
probably the election? Or should he keep our troops in
Iraq to protect Halliburton, Bechtel, and his other
Republican corporate campaign donors, skim millions in
campaign cash out of the billions these friendly
corporations are being paid by American taxpayers, and
hope all that money can buy enough commercials to make
Americans forget about the price of gasoline, growing
Iraqi nationalism, and the resulting coffins returning
to America on a daily basis.

Or maybe there's a third option. If the American media
keep ignoring the oil, don't report on Bush's
unwillingness to attend GI funerals (he'd rather take
a month-long vacation and play golf), and continue to
overlook the obvious connections between Iraqi
nationalism and dead Americans, Bush could repeat his
very successful political strategy from the middle of
the fall 2002 election campaign that threw the Senate
into Republican hands. He could simply declare his
intention to start another war mid-2004, stimulating
anti-war protests and dividing Americans, and then
again use that division to paint Democrats with a
yellow brush.

Which will it be? Only Karl Rove knows for sure. But
whichever way it goes, you can bet American taxpayers
and soldiers will pay the bill in cash and blood, and
democracy will be the weaker for it.

Thom Hartmann (thom at is the
bestselling author of over a dozen books, including
"Unequal Protection" and "The Last Hours of Ancient
Sunlight," and the host of a nationally syndicated
daily talk show, "The Thom Hartmann Program," that
runs opposite Rush Limbaugh. This
article is copyright by Thom Hartmann, but permission
is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web
media so long as this credit is attached and the title
is unchanged.


Posted by richard at September 7, 2003 01:44 PM