FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War on Iraq

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:
Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail