FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War on Iraq, What’s In It for Us?

BALTIMORE, MD. Bill Harvey’s topic for discussion, at the Progressive Action Center, on January 12, 2003, was entitled, “War-What’s in it for us?” His answer to that key question, after a wide ranging analysis of twenty specific ways a war with Iraq would affect Americans, and of the possible economic, social and cultural impact on the country, rang out loud and clear. He declared, “Nothing, but bad news!”

Harvey, a Green Party activist, author, and Labor historian, urged the Anti-War Movement to appeal “directly to the self interest of the American people . . . moving their interests about any possible war with Iraq to the center of the national debate. We already live in a war-ravaged nation. Since WWII,” he added, “we haven’t had any so-called ‘declared wars,’ because warfare is the norm in our society. The bloated Military Budget is at $400 billion and rising. We are also subjected to a parade of lies. The hypocrisy is breath taking. We need enemies, too, to maintain this warfare state. This is why they (the War Party) have created terms like ‘rouge states’ and ‘axis of evil.’ The perception of ‘over there,’ in many important respects, turns out to be right here.

“Today, civil liberties are a swamp,” Harvey continued, referring to the recently enacted draconian USA Patriot Act and the creation of the Homeland Security Agency. “As for race relations, well, just take a look at what is happening to the Arab-American community,” he said. “Arab people in this country are the most degraded and dehumanized people in our public culture. It is everywhere. For example, Jay Leno, the NBC ‘Tonight Show’ host regularly cracks jokes at their expense, as do other shows and movies. Leno recently featured on his program a comedian, whose main spiel was an insulting rant against Arabs.”

On another topic, Harvey pondered, “Wouldn’t it be great, if people would start to raise questions about the effect that our wars have had on their own lives and to hear someone say, ‘War really made a mess of this neighborhood and my family.'” Harvey pointed out how a high percentage of the U.S. veterans of the first Gulf War, in 1991, almost twenty-eight percent- -160,000 personnel- -ended up with “service-related medical problems, three times higher than the Vietnam War era rate.

“Let’s also put the spotlight on the energy industry,” he said. “We, the people of the U.S. don’t really need Iraq’s oil or the oil from the Middle East for that matter. It only supplies about 15 percent, or less, of our present needs. They, the U.S. and British oil companies, do need the oil, in order to maintain a measure of control over the economies of Japan and some countries in Europe, and to some extend China and Russia, too.

“A war with Iraq will mean a huge increase in energy costs in the short term for Americans,” Harvey said. “And, in the long term, if the war is successful, by their requirements, it will mean continuous control of prices by the energy industry. So, what would be the point of us fighting a war for [the oil industry,] thus allowing their firm control over such key decisions?

“Back in the 70s,” he said, “an alternative energy source was a major public issue, until the oil and automobile companies maneuvered it out of the public eye. Only in [an oil-dominated] capitalistic society can energy derived from the sun and wind be regarded as ‘alternative energy sources.’ In that one term,” he emphasized, “you can read what this whole society is about.”

Shifting to the security issues, Harvey underscored, how, “They (the War Party) are rolling the dice with our safety. A U.S. war with Iraq, and who knows what else might come up on their agenda in the very near future, like: the mass expulsion of the Palestinians; or a move on Iran, which I would say is likely; a move on Saudi Arabia, a possibility; or even attacks on Syria or Kuwait. All of these things,” he said, “if they do go down, will mean that a lot of outraged people will be even more outraged at us. I think we can only realistically expect the result from that to be increased terrorist activity in the U.S. And, all of this also goes to increasing fear and insecurity among the people, which serves, too, the interest of the power structure.

“They tell us we are in a ‘war without end’ and the cost of that war shows up in many unrecognized ways, too, like in U.S. aid to countries in preparing for war,” Harvey continued. “Topping that list are Israel and Columbia, among others. There is also the interest on the military’s percentage of the the national debt. Just recently, too, the War Party bought out some members of the UN Security Council, who were on the fence about joining us in the war against Iraq. And, then, there are also the enormous clean up cost and occupation that come after a conflict.

“War doesn’t occur in isolation,” said Harvey, who was speaking under the auspices of the “Coalition Against Global Exploitation” (GAGE). “War, and threats of war, is just one aspect of a full court press. Financial, economic and military imperialism go hand in hand. When Karl von Clausewitz said, ‘War is a continuation of politics by other means,’ he was onto the scent. Though, he would be amazed by the ingenuity of the guys that we are up against today.

“Nevertheless, people are kicking back,” Harvey concluded. “People of faith are raising questions. There have been growing demonstrations around the country, activism on college campuses is up, the labor movement is stirring, and many in strategically placed groups are raising their voices.”

Perhaps, we should all be asking, like Bill Harvey did, “What is in this deal (War with Iraq) for the American people?”

WILLIAM HUGHES is the author of “Baltimore Iconoclast” (Writer’s Showcase), which is available online. He can be reached at liamhughes@mindspring.com.

(C) WILLIAM HUGHES 2002

 

More articles by:

December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail