IT’S THE OIL, STUPID!

16 04 2011

Once upon a time, I thought Moammar Qadhafi was cool, a twentieth century Barbary pirate who gleefully steered an independent course, used his country’s oil money to benefit the Libyan people, and thumbed his nose at Moscow and Washington alike.  I soured on him a long time ago, though, as it became apparent that he was pocketing most of the oil money himself, and his regime was blowing up airliners and assassinating exiled Libyan dissidents.  His visit to Rome in February was little short of bizarre, as he suggested that Europeans should convert en masse to Islam, abolish all political parties, and that the etymology of the word “democracy” had to do with people sitting on chairs, not to mention quotes like these:

I am not a dictator to close facebook… But I will be arresting anyone who enters it!

Demonstrate all you want, but do not go to the streets and squares!!

So, I was thrilled when a revolt broke out in Libya that seemed to have the strength to kick his crazy ass out of the country.  I mean, the guy reminds me of Michael Jackson–way cool in the eighties, nuts in the twenty-first century.  But Qadhafi, while he may be as crazy as Michael Jackson, is a lot less musically talented and a lot more dangerous.  It became obvious that he was going to use every means at his disposal to destroy the rebellion, and he definitely had the resources to do it:  modern weaponry, 6.5 billion dollars worth of gold to buy supplies, and a porous southern border with sub-Saharan Africa, a region where money talks and anything goes.  It looked like ol’ Qadhafi Duck was gonna crush the rebellion and give any rebels who survived reason to envy the dead.  But then, but then–instead of hanging these rebels out to dry, as the West has almost invariably done, NATO came to their aid.  Wow!   The empire was doing the right thing for a change!

So why, I wondered, were Cindy Sheehan and the Green Party and a lot of my usual cohorts going ape about this?  Did they actually support Qadhafi?  Did they know something I didn’t?

It didn’t take long for the truth to come out.  First came the disclosure that there had been a quid pro quo to gain Arab support for the intervention:   the U.S. agreed not to squawk about suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations in Bahrain in exchange for co-operation.  It was fine with the Saudis–Qadhafi Duck has long been a loose cannon in the Middle East, and they would be happy to see him replaced with someone more tractable.  Second, I found out that Qadhafi had recently decided to start selling Libya’s oil to India and China, rather than the West.  As Saddam Hussein found out when he tried to ask for Euros instead of dollars for his oil, defections will not be tolerated.

Think of all the oppressive situations the Empire has ignored.  Repression in Iran, Syria, Turkish actions against the Kurds, the civil wars in Sudan and the Congo, the genocide in Rwanda, brutal regimes in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians, the concentration camps known as North Korea and Burma, China’s crushing of Tibet and Tiananmen Square, “dirty wars” in Chile and Argentina–the list goes on and on.  The US has tsk-tsked, turned a blind eye to, or actively assisted in the crushing of one popular revolt after another–but Libya–Libya we can, and will, do something about–and why?  It’s small enough to beat and rich enough to be worth taking.  This is not about freedom and democracy, it’s about greed and hypocrisy, about getting our people in there and taking over from the amateurs who started the revolt. I would like to see those amateurs succeed, but it’s not about freedom any more, it’s about their blood for our oil–again.

My bad, Ms. Sheehan.  You called it right.

The Clash:  “Rock the Casbah





LIARS’ CLUB

5 10 2006

It’s been quite a month for lies…but what else can you expect from a government that sets itself apart from “the reality based community”?

For openers, there was historical fiction in the form of ABC’s “docudrama” on 9-11, which made it look like Bill Clinton was too distracted by his infatuation with Monica Lewinsky to do anything about 9-11. Bill rightly defended himself on Fox news, of all places, by pointing out that all the Republicans who are now excoriating him for letting Osama get away are the ones who were making all the fuss about Monica and pooh-poohing his attempts to kill Bin Laden, and that the Bush administration totally dropped the ball on all those efforts until after 9-11 “took them by surprise,” if indeed it was a surprise to them.

Another lie about 9-11 that surfaced was the EPA’s claim that air quality at ground zero after the blast was good enough to allow most people to work without respiratory protection. Now we find that the vast majority of those who helped clean up the twin towers are suffering from serious lung problems. What was the “Support the Troops” crew’s response to this? They killed Hillary Clinton’s move to earmark two billion dollars to help these people with their health problems. Some support. And, speaking of supporting the troops, they’ve been cutting soldiers’ access to body armor (by outlawing private body armor) and shrinking the Veterans’ Administration’s health programs. Support our troops, right. War is peace. Freedom is slavery.

The lies they told about Iraq—threat to the region, weapons of mass destruction, involvement with international terrorism, repressive government that needs to be toppled so democracy can flourish—have resulted in the deaths of as many Americans as died at the twin towers, the deaths of at least as many Iraqis as Saddam took out, a recruiting bonanza for terrorists, and a failing state in Iraq, a country where now, no one is safe. As one Iraqi commented, “Under Saddam, you knew that if you minded your own business, you wouldn’t be bothered. Now, death can come to anyone at any time.”

Lies….the facts in the Valerie Plame case are still not entirely clear, but it is possible that those who exposed her as an undercover CIA agent weren’t even well enough acquainted with the CIA’s operations to know that she was, in fact, the point person for uncovering Iraq’s secret weapons programs, if there were any—and, apparently, there were not. And this is the place where I say, “America had as much right to invade Iraq as the Nazis had to invade Poland.”

The gang that was so eager to dump Bill Clinton for a blow job sees nothing wrong with Presidential lies that have cost hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. And they see nothing wrong with protecting one of their own who’s a pedophile, if only they can get away with it ’till after the election. Boy, they’re really gonna hafta fix them voting machines good now that Representative Foley’s little indiscretions have come to light. They say incumbents can’t lose unless they’re caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, and he’s been caught with a live boy. Chairman of the Missing and Exploited Childrens’ Caucus. Family values, yeah yeah yeah.

Now, I think some people may be going too far in not trusting the junta. There are many who question whether the twin towers were planted with demolition charges, whether the Pentagon was hit by an airliner or missile,what NORAD was doing, and so on. I think getting hung up in these kinds of details is a distraction. If there was government collusion or acquiescence in the attack, they didn’t need to be concerned about whether buildings went down, didn’t need to complicate the plot and risk exposure that way—just needed to let it happen—maybe they didn’t think the buildings would come down, maybe that part of the tragedy genuinely surprised and saddened them—things got out of hand. Certainly the continuing exposure of how many warnings were willfully ignored (the CIA’s counterterrorism chief saying “we held a gun to Condi Rice’s head and did everything but pull the trigger”) suggests that they could have known about it and wanted it to happen—or were they just too preoccupied to notice? In either case, they should be criminally liable.

And of course their response since the attack has been nothing short of bizarre. Banning toothpaste from airliners? Seriously, evidence continues to mount regarding the number of individuals kidnapped, tortured, detained, and even killed who had nothing to do with any terrorism. For example, a number of the detainees at Guantanamo are ethnic Uigurs from northwestern China, who had to leave China for their own safety after unsuccessfully opposing the Chinese takeover of their homeland. They saw themselves as fighting for an American kind of freedom—but they were strangers in Pakistan where the US was offering bounties for terrorists, and somebody saw them as easy money and turned them in for the bounty. They didn’t have families who would seek revenge, y’know? And so now they’re in Guantanamo, and the American government they once admired wants to make sure they don’t get out.

Through all this, Bush, Cheney, Gonzalez, et al have insisted that there are important secrets that must be kept and that is why none of their policies can be challenged. I think the most important secret they are trying to keep is what a bunch of incompetent, selfish, lying traitors they are. Let’s put them in Guantanamo and see how they like it!

Well, gee whiz (there I go again!), that’s a dangerous statement to make—because their response to the mounting criticism of their incompetence and venality has been to pass a law that essentially makes it illegal to criticize them. While the recent bill was promoted for its provisions stripping non-citizens of their rights, it also allows the President, or anyone he designates, to deem American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” and detain us without any rights, subject us to torture, including detaining our children and torturing them in front of us. I’m not making that up, folks. John Yoo, one of the chief framers of the junta’s torture polices, admitted as much in a public debate.

It looks to me like we are dealing with people who read 1984 and decided Big Brother was cool and Winston Smith was a dumb sucker who should have kept his head down.

The way this bill is written, Cindy Sheehan is subject to indefinite detention. Congressman John Murtha is subject to indefinite detention. Shame on the Democrats who voted for this bill. Shame on the ones who didn’t, but traded the possibility of a filibuster away for the chance to try to amend the bill to soften its impact. They’re making such noble, outraged noises. They should have rushed the podium or set fire to the furniture or at least demanded to be the first ones detained. Let’s get something clear—the junta doesn’t need torture provisions to get info from Middle Easterners—they know you don’t get reliable information from people by torturing them– they need the threat of torture to intimidate Americans. Everybody knows what weenies we are.

Gonzalez says that the 9-11 attacks constitute an invasion and therefore the government has the right to suspend habeus corpus. That statement is so fantastic that I hardly need to say anything about it except that if this guy wasn’t rich and in the government, he’d be on court-ordered meds.

I HAVE PLEDGED ALLEGIANCE TO THE REPUBLIC—NOT THE REPUBLICANS!!!

They have abrogated this country’s obligations under the Geneva conventions, which makes America an outlaw country. We are just as hijacked as the people in those jets five years ago, just as hijacked as the good citizens of Germany when Hitler pushed though a similar law in 1933.

Will there be a “Night of the Long Knives” to purge the GOP of Foley, Log Cabin Republicans, and anyone else antithetical to the “family values” crowd?

How many shopping days ’till Kristallnacht?

And what about Stalingrad and the Battle of Berlin?

music: REM, “Welcome to the Occupation








%d bloggers like this: