FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dubya Indemnity

At long last, a “smoking gun” has been found to justify the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Investigators probing obscure government archives in the occupied capital city have uncovered a document signed by the unelected tyrant which provides a clear casus belli for the much-disputed conflict.

This remarkable directive was part of a series of moves undertaken by the dictator to strengthen his one-party stranglehold on the state by looting the wealth of the Iraqi people and placing himself and his cronies beyond the reach of the law. It was issued at the leader’s autocratic whim, without public notice or any vote by the oppressed nation’s ludicrous, rubber-stamp “legislature.” It freed the dictator and his looter-barons from responsibility for a broad range of potential crimes: fraud, environmental devastation, slave labor, even murder–as long as those activities were related to filling the ruling clique’s pockets with profits from Iraq’s oil.

A more powerful instrument of repression can scarcely be imagined–yet the bleeding-heart apologists for tyranny, those craven bootlickers who so strenuously oppose “regime change” to remove a thugocracy choking the life from a long-suffering people, have not uttered a peep about this nefarious document, which lies at the heart of a criminal enterprise that has claimed thousands of innocent victims and fanned the flames of international terrorism.

We refer, of course, to Executive Order 13303, quietly promulgated by George W. Bush in May then buried deep in the verbiage of the Federal Register, where it was recently unearthed by Jim Vallette of the Institute for Policy Studies. Here, Bush’s prettified public motives for war give way to the “bottom line” so beloved by the sordid corporate hacks and ideological extremists who seized Washington in the 2000 judicial coup.

In the order, Bush proclaims that any legal action taken for any reason against any American corporation dealing in “Iraqi petroleum products” at any point in the process–from well-head to gas-pump to boardroom–“constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security” of the United States. In fact, the very possibility that one of Bush’s oil pets might be held accountable for its actions while gorging on Iraqi crude is so terrifying that the Looter-in-Chief has declared a “national emergency” to deal with the situation. (A “national emergency” that he forgot to mention to, er, the nation.)

The Bush edict grants a blanket immunity to all traffickers in Iraqi oil–as long as their moolah finds its way, by hook or crook, into the coffers of “United States persons or entities.” Bush declares flatly that any “judicial process” launched against these protected entities “shall be deemed null and void.” And how to guarantee that his partners and patrons won’t be troubled by some rogue nation that still clings to the outmoded principle of law and order? Simple: one of the agencies authorized to “employ all powers” necessary “to carry out the purposes of this order” is our old friend, the Defense Department.

Ostensibly, Order 13303 is aimed at preventing sissy-baby war-shirkers like, say, Russia, from going to court to enforce their existing oil contracts with Iraq. Here, the Regime is merely recognizing “facts on the ground”: Iraq’s oil doesn’t belong to Saddam anymore; it belongs to George Bush, and he could do what he likes with it. (Forget the shuck-and-jive about “preserving the resources of the Iraqi people”–that’s just cornball for the yokels back home.)

But as Vallette points out, the rap sheet of American energy “entities” is crammed with ugly incident, including the aforesaid employment of forced labor, the hiring of murderous goons to put down protests by unruly natives, the subversion and corruption of national governments, and the despoiling of vast swathes of sea and coastline on a regular basis. There’s little reason to believe these swaggering behemoths will be more circumspect in their fevered rush to exploit Iraq’s captive treasures. Like many other of Bush’s unconstitutional, unlegislated and undebated secret directives, Order 13303 is essentially a license to kill.

It’s also part of a massive effort to turn Iraq into a Bushist theme park, where favored corporate cronies can run wild, unfettered by regulation and glutted by American taxpayer money that frees them from any financial risk. To that end, Bush sent his old college buddy Thomas Foley to Baghdad last week, the Financial Times reports, to “advance the privatization” of Iraqi state enterprises by ensuring that the sell-off of the nation’s non-oil assets will be “open to foreign trade”–i.e., “United States persons or entities.” Many of the latter have hired Bush’s former campaign manger and political fixer, lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, to front for them at the occupation trough, the National Journal reports.

At the same time, a rigged bidding process last week forced rivals of Dick Cheney’s paymaster, Halliburton (yes, he still gets fat checks from his old firm) out of the running for a new multibillion-dollar contract to administer Iraq’s oil fields, the Washington Post reports. Those billions will now flow to the Vice Man’s company–whose every action will be whitewashed by Bush’s order of indemnity.

But there is no indemnity, no immunity, for the American soldiers dying daily in guerrilla ambushes, or the innocent Iraqis mown down daily by their panicky conquerors, or the innocent people around the world at increased risk as terrorists ape the Bushist way of enforcing ideology by violence. No, they all pay the full price–the blood price–for the Bush barons’ free ride.

CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. My CounterPunch piece on Rumsfeld’s plan to provoke terrorist attacks came in at Number 4 on Project Censored’s final tally of the Most Censored stories of 2002. 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.

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