FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Corporations, War and You

One thing is clear about the Bush administration’s current rush to war: It has nothing to do with protecting U.S. security.

There is no evidence nor reason to believe that Iraq possesses nuclear weapons. The Iraqi military is among the weakest in the Middle East. And the CIA says that Iraq does not pose a terrorist threat to the United States — although it might, the CIA warns, if the United States launches an attack.

What is much less clear is the actual reason for war, especially because it poses real risks to U.S. corporate and geopolitical interests.

There are material interests served by war and the run-up to war, of course.

Big Oil: It should go without saying that the Bush administration, like administrations before it, obsesses about the Persian Gulf because it sits atop the world’s largest oil reserves. The Washington, Sustainable Energy and Economy Network’s Steve Kretzmann argues that central to the U.S. industry interest in Iraq is its potential role as a counterbalance to Saudi Arabia, which possesses the world’s largest oil reserves by far.

The Military-Industrial Think Tank Complex I: A network of defense industry-backed think tanks have been instrumental in cooking up the rationale for invasion of Iraq, developing concepts such as “preemptive war.” Many of the staff at these think tanks are now part of the Bush administration. Former defense company executives and consultants are also extremely well represented in the administration, and wield enormous influence. For the industry, war and hyped threats to national security mean greater expenditures on their weaponry. The Defense budget is set to hit $380 billion this year, rising over the next five years to a approach a staggering $500 billion.

The Ideology of Empire: The ideology and geopolitical strategy of the war-mongering extremist networks is, in a word, empire. They hope to demonstrate how awesome and dominant is U.S. military force, and that the United States is willing to use it routinely on whatever pretext it chooses. Their intended message: Cross the empire at your peril.

But more is going on here than just a corporate agenda.

There is no escaping the pathetic fact that a major impulse for war is the desire of President Bush and many of the key actors who served in his father’s administration to “redeem” the failure of the first Bush regime to depose Saddam Hussein.

And there is the narrow political calculus that must have been undertaken prior to the 2002 election by Karl Rove and other White House strategists. They realized that the post September-11 boost for the president was rapidly fading and that the administration was losing control of the national agenda as the Enron, WorldCom and other financial scandals dominated the headlines. They ran the election on the war and, with the Democrats offering no coherent opposition, this proved a successful strategy.

Still, while these propulsions to war can be identified, there are substantial countervailing factors at play. A war brings with it enormous uncertainty. While few doubt that the United States will prevail quickly on the battlefield, there is the potential of U.S. soldiers suffering non-negligible casualties if there ends up being house-to-house fighting in Baghdad. There is the real risk of spurring new terrorist acts, either in the United States or against U.S. citizens abroad, whether these acts come from Iraq, al-Qaeda or others. (And if Saddam Hussein is as evil as President Bush suggests, and if his regime is collapsing, isn’t it likely that he will lash out at the United States through any means possible?) There is the possibility that the U.S. invasion will generate political instability in other countries. There is the enormous uncertainty about how Iraq will be governed after Saddam is deposed.

These are not just concerns for common sense-minded citizens. They involve the uncertainties that intensely disturb corporations, which is presumably the reason the Dow falls as the drums of war beat louder. They even pose potential risks to the oil companies. (They may also pose risks to George Bush’s re-election, which is why the last, best hope of averting war perhaps is that the White House political strategists pull the country back from the brink.)

But the administration appears to have shunted aside these countervailing concerns. The momentum for war — fueled by a combination of corporate interest, ideology, personal pique and political expedience — combined with the arrogance of power of the most hawkish wing of the administration, appear to have steamrolled saner voices urging caution.

President Bush is on the verge of launching a war that will kill untold thousands of Iraqis, and turn an already tempestuous world into a much more dangerous place. Every person in the United States should do everything and anything they can to stop this lunacy.

Here are four things to do for those in the United States:

1. Attend the massive demonstration against war in New York City on February 15, or in San Francisco on February 16. For more information, see: http:www.unitedforpeace.org.

2. Call your senators (1-800-839-5276 or 202-224-3121), and urge them to support Senate Resolution 32, which calls for another Congressional vote before the United States commences a war. (To see the text of the resolution, go to http://thomas.loc.gov and type in “SRes 32” (no quotes) in the box for the bill number.)

3. Make sure your city council has passed a resolution supporting peace. 67 cities, including Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit and Washington, D.C., already have. Check out http://www.citiesforpeace.org.

4. Give a day’s worth of time to stop the war. If you’re not sure what to do, sign up with Moveon.org (go to: http://moveon.org/giveaday) and they will supply you with plenty of ideas.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor, and co-director of Essential Action. They are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1999.)

 

More articles by:

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

September 19, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
Lawrence Davidson
Political Fragmentation on the Homefront
George Ochenski
How’s That “Chinese Hoax” Treating You, Mr. President?
Cesar Chelala
The Afghan Morass
Chris Wright
Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class
Howard Lisnoff
The Beat Goes On Against Protest in Saudi Arabia
Nomi Prins 
The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump
Jack Rasmus
On the 10th Anniversary of Lehman Brothers 2008: Can ‘IT’ Happen Again?
Richard Schuberth
Make Them Suffer Too
Geoff Beckman
Kavanaugh in Extremis
Jonathan Engel
Rather Than Mining in Irreplaceable Wilderness, Why Can’t We Mine Landfills?
Binoy Kampmark
Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under
Michael McCaffrey
A Curious Case of Mysterious Attacks, Microwave Weapons and Media Manipulation
Elliot Sperber
Eating the Constitution
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail