Withdrawal Symptoms

by TERRENCE E. PAUPP

By May 23, 2007 it became clear that the Democrats were little better than the Republicans when given the task of ending the Iraq War. Like their Republican counterparts, the Democrats took on the mantle of Bush-enablers by granting him another $95 billion dollars supplemental authorization to keep the war going. Not until September 2007 would the matter of funding the Iraq War come home to roost in the Congress.

Why did this happen? The dirty truth is that both political parties are hooked on an addiction to Iraqi oil. So, both parties are now filled with imperialists. That is right—oil-addicted imperialists. The great majority in Congress have signed on to the Bush administration’s agenda of stealing Iraq’s oil resources and placing permanent US military bases in that country to guarantee uninterrupted access regardless of the cost in blood or treasure. It all started in 2003 when Bush assigned Paul Bremer to be the head of the Coalitional Provisional Authority (CPA).

In violation of international law, Bremer started issuing orders on how the Iraqi economy would be run and who would get what. Bremer began to organize what the Bush administration wanted for the whole region—privatization. Never mind the fact that Bremer’s illegal orders also created the basis for the current civil war in Iraq. Insofar as different ethnic groups would stand to benefit more than others from the new arrangements it was clear that some groups would be cut out all together. Hence, the Bush supported Maleki government is a propped up hoax that is unrepresentative of the interests of millions of Iraqi citizens who have been disenfranchised within their new "democratic" state.

Foreign owned business and enterprise would be empowered to ignore the limitations imposed by a now defunct Iraqi Constitution that prohibited the sale of the nation’s resources to foreigners. In short, profits were to be had as the Bush administration pushed for a Free Trade Area (FTA) that would extend throughout the Middle East. It was not really designed to bring democracy, in the sense of a political opening for the unrepresented and excluded of the region. Rather, it was a democratization of Iraq’s oil resources so that privatized firms, such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton could capitalize on new economic arrangements that leave the Iraqi people with growing unemployment and deprive them of the oil revenues of their own nation. Iraq may have as much as 300 billion barrels of oil untapped. With oil headed toward $70 dollars a barrel, the oil wealth of Iraq could be worth as much as $21 trillion. Hence, here we have the real rationale of an endless occupation.

Never mind the fact that over 60 percent of the American public wants the war to end now. That is what the November 2006 elections were supposed to be about. Those elections gave the Democrats a mandate to develop a spine and stand up to the Liar-in-Chief about the Iraq War. What happened? They started to play politics with the Republican rope-a-dope strategy of "support our troops." Never mind the fact that real support for the troops would be to bring them home after 4 tours of duty and keep them alive from the bullets and RPG launchers that have come to symbolize the nature of the civil war. Never mind the fact that over 500-thousand Iraqi citizens have been killed since the war began. In fact, when one examines the death toll of civilian dead you come to realize that some citizens were needless by our own troops in the village of Hidatha and in the prison at Abu Ghraib.

So, what was the plan to begin with? Was it to remove WMDs? Was it to spread democracy in the Middle East? Or was it really another chance for the West to play the "Great Game"—try to control Eurasia and all of the oil down to the Persian Gulf. Some historians and commentators track the strategy back to the late 1970s when President Jimmy Carter announced the Carter-Doctrine in a State of the Union Message. It was a declaration in the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine. If any nation or power should seek to cut off American access to the oil supplies of the Middle East, military action would be taken in order to forestall or eliminate such a threat. Bush has merely fulfilled what the Carter Doctrine promised.

Yet, the Bush strategy really has not succeeded because the course it took in Iraq amounts to what the policy wonks call a "failed strategy." Well, that analysis merely gets us to military strategy and tactics. It simply critiques the failure of an imperial policy. It conveniently ignores the dirty truth that the grand strategy of the Great Game is one of imperialism and establishing American hegemony over both the Middle East and from there the rest of the globe. For if the US can deny the Russians and Chinese access to new energy sources, then the US can put a stop to the threat of two potential rivals or Hegemons that might be capable of moving in on America’s control of both the Middle East and the world.

The political elites of the US political and financial establishment want control of Iraq, the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea, and the rest of Eurasia. These US elites will do anything to block off Russian and Chinese efforts to profit from the energy reserves of the Middle East. In geopolitical terms the American strategy is one of seeking to maintain hegemony—unchallenged control over the region and the international economy. In that sense, both parties have suffered withdrawal symptoms when it comes to leaving Iraq. Both parties are too addicted to oil and to a strategy of imperialism that sustains the addiction. In the meantime, democratic representation in the United States and in Iraq is virtually dead.

Terrence Paupp is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs and author of the recent book, Exodus From Empire: The Fall of America’s Empire and the Rise of the Global Community (Pluto Press, 2007).

 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
September 4-6, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Regime Change Refugees: On the Shores of Europe
Paul Street
Bi-Polar Disorder: Obama’s Bait-and-Switch Environmental Politics
Kali Akuno
Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era
Jeffrey St. Clair
Arkansas Bloodsuckers: the Clintons, Prisoners and the Blood Trade
Lawrence Ware
No Refuge: the Specter of White Supremacy Still Haunts Black America
Arun Gupta
Field Notes to Life During the Apocalypse
Paul Craig Roberts
Whither the Economy?
Ted Rall
Call It By Its Name: Censorship
Ron Jacobs
Bernie Sanders’ Vision: As Myopic as Every Other Candidate or Not?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and Crisis
Richard W. Behan
Republican Fail, Advantage Sanders: the Indefensible Budget for Defense
Susan Babbitt
“Swarms” Entering the UK? What We Can Still Learn About the Migrant Crisis From Che Guevara
Andrew Levine
Compassionate Conservatism: a Reconsideration and an Appreciation
Steve Hendricks
Come Again? Second Thoughts on My Ashley Madison Affair
John Wight
Adrift Without Sanctuary: a Sick and Twisted Morality
Binoy Kampmark
Sieges in an Age of Austerity: Monitoring Julian Assange
Colin Todhunter
Europe’s Refugee Crisis and the Depraved Morality of David Cameron
JP Sottile
Chinese Military Parade Freak-Out
Kathleen Wallace
The Child Has a Name, They All Do
David Rosen
Why So Few Riots?
Norm Kent
The Rent Boy Raid: Homeland Security Should Monitor Our Borders Not Our Bedrooms
Michael Welton
Canada’s Arrogant Autocrat: the Rogue Politics of Stephen Harper
Ramzy Baroud
Palestine’s Crisis of Leadership: Did Abbas Destroy Palestinian Democracy?
Jim Connolly
Sniping at the Sandernistas: Left Perfectionism in the Belly of the Beast
Pepe Escobar
Say Hello to China’s New Toys
Sylvia C. Frain
Tiny Guam, Huge US Marine Base Expansions
Pete Dolack
Turning National Parks into Corporate Profit Centers
Ann Garrison
Africa’s Problem From Hell: Samantha Power
Dan Glazebrook
British Home Secretary Theresa May: Savior or Slaughterer of Black People?
Christopher Brauchli
Poor, Poor, Pitiful Citigroup
Norman Pollack
Paradigm of a Fascist Mindset: Nicholas Burns on Iran
Barry Lando
Standing at the Bar of History: Could the i-Phone Really Have Prevented the Holocaust?
Linn Washington Jr.
Critics of BlackLivesMatter# Practice Defiant Denial
Roger Annis
Canada’s Web of Lies Over Syrian Refugee Crisis
Chris Zinda
Constitutional Crisis in the Heart of Dixie
Rannie Amiri
Everything Stinks: Beirut Protests and Garbage Politics
Graham Peebles
Criminalizing Refugees
Missy Comley Beattie
In Order To Breathe
James McEnteer
Blast From the Past in Buenos Aires
Patrick Higgins
A Response to the “Cruise Missile Left”
Tom H. Hastings
Too Broke to Pay Attention
Edward Leer
Love, Betrayal, and Donuts
Louis Proyect
Migrating Through Hell: Quemada-Diez’s “La Jaula de Oro”
Charles R. Larson
Class and Colonialism in British Cairo
David Yearsley
Michael Sarin: Drumming Like Summer Fireworks Over a Choppy Lake