By: Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
July 31, 2007
“He who lives by fighting with an enemy has an interest in the preservation of the enemy’s life.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Holding a joint press conference with the new British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, George W. Bush called Iraq a ‘new democracy’; The gift of democracy from the Bush White House. It would seem appropriate that a statue of George W. Bush be erected where Saddam’s statue once stood – after all, he is the liberator. The momentous unveiling ought to be accompanied by the wailing of mothers rocking back and forth as they beat their chests holding corpses and shrieking in anguish. The ‘new democracy’ should have its orphaned children present, delivering their gratitude with growling stomachs and tears that are all they have to relieve their parched throats. The liberator’s statue would be adorned not with the promised flowers, but with stains left behind by the blood of the innocent buried in mass graves – the shame of women raped. Indeed, they were liberated from their dreams, their tomorrows, from their hopes.
And of so much more…
Perhaps the Iraqis should also thank the ‘liberator’ for unburdening them of their oil – it was the oil, and Saddam, that was a threat to them. Both are gone. While the Iraqis risk their lives standing in line for a can of gas, wondering what happened to their country’s riches, under the watchful eyes of soldiers, smugglers divert billions of dollars worth of crude onto tankers. This, thanks to the genius of Dick Cheney’s old company Halliburton (and Parsons) for the oil metering system that is supposed to monitor how much crude flows into and out of ABOT and KAAOT Southern oil terminals has not worked since the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.[i] The oil simply gets stolen, Halliburton does not fix it, and the soldiers don’t stop it.
Let’s not forget Saddam’s threat to the dollar. It’s simple to understand why he had to be eliminated. As Congressman Ron Paul puts it, the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement solidified the dollar as the preeminent world reserve currency, replacing the British pound. Due to the American political and military strength, and due to its huge gold reserve, the world readily accepted the dollar (defined as 1/35th of an ounce of gold) as the world’s reserve currency.
However, the U.S. printed more dollars for which there was no gold backing. But the world was content to accept those dollars for more than 25 years with little question–until the French and others in the late 1960s demanded it fulfill its promise to pay one ounce of gold for each $35 they delivered to the U.S. Treasury. This resulted in a huge gold drain that brought an end to a very poorly devised pseudo-gold standard. On August 15, 1971, Nixon closed the gold window and refused to pay out any of the remaining 280 million ounces of gold; but not without devising a new system for the dollar hegemony to spread.
An agreement was struck with OPEC to price oil in U.S. dollars exclusively for all worldwide transactions. This gave the dollar a special place among world currencies and in essence “backed” the dollar with oil. In return, the U.S. promised to protect the various oil-rich kingdoms in the Persian Gulf against threat of invasion or domestic coup. This arrangement gave the dollar artificial strength, with tremendous financial benefits for the United States. In November 2000 Saddam Hussein demanded Euros for his oil. It was his arrogance that was a threat — to the dollar; his lack of any military might was never a threat. At the first cabinet meeting with the new administration in 2001, as reported by Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, the major topic was how to get rid of Saddam Hussein–[ii]
Saddam was linked to al Qaeda – sovereign Iraq was invaded –Joe Wilson’s honest report was dismissed, his wife, Valerie Plame’s identity was revealed – and so the rest of the story goes….
The ‘liberators’ fight hard for the ‘new democracy’. The ‘new democracy’ had become the place where arms dealers line their pockets. War is good for business. Boardrooms are filled with delighted stockholders. Profits are rolling in. The bin Laden owned Carlyle Group, not content with making money out of arms, proposes to use its connections to get in other deals. It wants ‘to help manage’ up to $1 billion of the funds collected from the reparations and other claims to create an entity, initially funded by $2 billion in Kuwaiti government money, that would take control of any funds collected from Iraq [iii].
Indeed, the bin Laden owned Carlyle group fares well when it comes to death and destruction. As the Bush administration was supplying Israel with munitions to massacre the Lebanese men, women, and children, and as the United Nations was ordered by the U.S. to allow the destruction of a nation to continue, the Carlyle Group was ready to invest in Lebanon’s ruins – another one of Mr. Bush’s ‘new democracies’.[iv]
Was it all ‘bad intelligence’? Today we have the weapons manufacturers supplying the intelligence. An ad taken out by Lockheed Martin last year looking for intelligence recruits read: “on substantive intelligence matters involving terrorist groups and networks . . . Centcom experience is a plus,” [v]. Raytheon, the other large defense contractor, is also supplying intelligence – to the point that corporate America, the weapons manufacturers, are capable of taking us to war. And war they want. Their stocks have gone through the roof – though the Iraqis had their roofs taken away with bombs and poverty.
The next ‘threat’ on the list is Iran. In 1999 Iran had stated that it plans to sell its oil in Euro currency (Du Boff 1)[vi] as the sanctions had made it impossible for Iran to trade in dollar. (In 2001, Venezuela’s ambassador to Russia spoke of Venezuela switching to the Euro for all their oil sales. Within a year there was a coup attempt against Chavez, reportedly with assistance from the CIA). Iran has started selling its oil in other currencies – Japan had to pay for its shipment in Yen. Iran has been the target of false allegations and ‘bad intelligence’ for the sole purpose of an attack which would profit corporate America, the military industrial complex, and their cohorts in the Middle East, with Lockheed Martin and Raytheon supplying intelligence[vii]. Even as the IAEA “inspectors have protested to the US government and a Congressional committee about a report on Iran’s nuclear work, calling parts of it “outrageous and dishonest”, and that Iran had not enriched uranium to weapons grade[viii], the warmongering media here continues to make accusations about Iran. Iran is being accused of killing Americans in Iraq, supplying weapons, and in short, of being the biggest threat to the U.S. No doubt many employees are being paid overtime to produce the right ‘intelligence’ reports on Iran to keep the war machines going and the profits coming in.
But why arm Arabs? The second volume of Henry Kissinger’s memoirs of the Nixon era, “Years of Upheaval”, makes it clear that Kissinger made no decisions in the Middle East without Israel in mind. Kissinger used historic Persian-Arab antipathy, and the Shah’s growing megalomania, to fashion the second half of a military pincer to squeeze the Arabs between a heavily-armed Israel and a similarly-armed Iran. Today, the Bush administration is scaremongering the Arabs into thinking that Iran’s civilian nuclear program poses a threat and that Iran has hegemonic ambitions. America is uniting the Arabs against Iran so that when Iran is attacked, fearing retaliation from Iran, as they have been made to believe, the Arab states armed with U.S. weapons, will be the foot soldiers that America lacks. Unwilling to enact the draft, and unable to enlist men to fight another illegal war, the United States is arming the Arabs – to be its foot soldiers in a battle with Iran. However, as they are being armed to the teeth, the U.S. is ensuring that the weapons they are sold are far inferior to those received by Israel, that they are only ‘good enough’ for killing other Arabs, and for killing Iranians.[ix]
I can’t be sure whether it is the loss of our dignity or our collective apathy, but we have reached the point of tolerating the intolerable. Accustomed to manipulation, we no longer even protest the abuse. What extraordinary power to subjugate a nation in the name of protection and freedom, lives bartered for power and wealth, and still no outrage.
Do you hear them?
Do not take the echo of your silence for the absence of their plea for help. Today, we could have spared a mother’s agony, a father’s frustration at watching his children go hungry – his wife getting raped. Instead, we allowed ourselves to become victims too. Tomorrow, there will be more losses. Let us not wait.
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has lived and studied in Iran, the UK, France, Australia and the US. She obtained her Bachelors Degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and she is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Middle East Studies concentrating in Political Science. She has done extensive research on US foreign policy towards Iran and Iran’s nuclear program.
[vi] Du Boff, Richard B. “U.S. Hegemony: Continuing Decline, Enduring Danger” Monthly Review. NY Dec. 2000. Vol 55:7:1