FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Oil Wars and New Europe’s Mercenaries

In a political world blackened with the stinking pitch of lies, distortion and death-dealing hypocrisy, a shining knight of truth stepped boldly forth last week. With admirable–if ruthless–honesty, Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimioszewicz openly declared that his nation joined the Anglo-American crusade against Iraq for one purpose only: a share of the plunder from the conquered country’s oil fields.

Here was no shifting, no spin, no crocodile tears about “democracy” and “liberation” such as are wont to dribble down the ever-flapping cheeks of Crusader George and his faithful page Tony. While new each day seems to bring another tortured “justification” for aggressive war from the Coalition’s loquacious leaders, bold Cimioszewicz dispensed with pious cant and spoke plainly, the BBC reports.

“We have never hidden our desire for Polish oil companies to finally have access to sources of commodities,” the minister told a group of Polish magnates gathered to sign an agreement allowing them to join the corporate hunting packs from the United States and Britain in tearing off chunks of the Iraqi carcass. Indeed, access to Iraq’s oilfields “is our ultimate objective,” Cimioszewicz told the press.

That’s why Poland contributed a small combat force to the invasion: to seal its claims to loot in blood. It’s the Bush Doctrine, you see: “If you wanna share the bread, you gotta pile up the dead.” Now that the Poles have made their bones (figuratively and literally), the Busha Nostra will cut them in for a taste.

But the wise Warsawians know it’s not enough to be willing to blow the bejesus out of a few swarthy Arabs (and their children)–or even to expose your own young soldiers to the ever-present threat of a cruel and pointless death occupying a distant land where they’re not wanted. That might get you a pat on the head from the White House, but it won’t achieve your “ultimate objective.” No, for that, you must cross the proper palms with silver.

And those would be the hot little hands of the Halliburton Corporation, the great googily-moogily of militarized American commerce. The well-connected conglomerate has been handed billions in taxpayer money–often in open-ended, no-bid, have-a-spree contracts–to supply military, construction and energy services to the Potomac Empire’s far-flung outposts around the globe. Most recently they’ve taken up yet another profitable little sideline, courtesy of the White House: controlling Iraq’s oil fields–the second largest petroleum reserves in the world.

Halliburton was once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, who still receives a hefty sum in “deferred compensation” from the company every year. Under Cheney, Halliburton milked government grants and credits for its private business ventures–including $73 million in profitable deals with Mr. Mass Graves himself, Saddam Hussein. Sure, it was blood money, but profit is profit, right? As CEO Cheney himself said in 1998: “The good Lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratic regimes friendly to the United States.”

Halliburton gave Cheney $36 million as a parting gift when he left the firm just before the 2000 election–and they’ve made out like the proverbial bandits since their old boss ascended to his secure, undisclosed location behind the Bushist throne. So when Poland’s business elite wanted a share in the carve-up of Iraq, they knew just where to go: Cimioszewicz signed on the dotted line for a partnership with Halliburton, new lords of Iraq’s oil. The “ultimate objective” at last!

But of course, Poland is just a bit player on the great world stage. It’s all very well for such riff-raff to act solely from the desire for filthy lucre–but surely the knights-errant at the apex of the Coalition were guided by nothing but the loftiest intentions. Surely they wouldn’t kill people and put their own troops in danger just to grab “access to sources of commodities,” would they?

Well, they might. Last week, Coalition commander General Tommy Franks admitted that he launched the invasion two weeks ahead of schedule, before the full complement of troops, supplies and support were in place, the Guardian reports. And why did he send his underprepared army storming across the border in such a hurry? To liberate the languishing natives more quickly? To seize those weapons of mass destruction that had been pinpointed so accurately? Of course not. Franks said he jumped the gun because “intelligence sources” thought the Iraqis were planning to set fire to the oil fields.

And we couldn’t let that happen, could we? What would be the point of invading the place otherwise? How would Halliburton fill its coffers? Who would sign Dick Cheney’s checks? So out went months of planning, and in went the cannon fodder, their lives as meaningless to their masters then as they are now–dying in ambushes day after day, their deaths dismissed by Don Rumsfeld as “militarily insignificant” and used by Bush as material for playground taunts: “Bring ’em on!”

Real tough guys, aren’t they–launching their bluster from a world away, behind a phalanx of armed guards, during breaks from their golf games or lavish fundraisers. Not for their dainty hands the grubby rifle clutched nervously on a Baghdad patrol; not for their pampered flesh the ambusher’s bullet, the guerrilla’s bomb. But “access to sources of commodities?” Ah yes, that belongs to them alone: massive loot to be ladled out to their corporate sponsors–and to their spear-carriers, their helots, the self-confessed mercenaries of the “New Europe.”

CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at: cfloyd72@hotmail.com

 

More articles by:

Chris Floyd is a columnist for CounterPunch Magazine. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at www.chris-floyd.com.

December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail