All around us is the mark of chaos. In Iraq, somebody is setting off bombs in large crowds and killing hundreds. Nobody claims responsibility and nobody knows who finances the unknown bombers. In Haiti, mysterious factions and individuals are taking over cities, killing their enemies, and overthrowing governments. In Colombia, Palestine, and elsewhere throughout the world, confusion and death continue to make their mark on the daily lives of citizens in those lands. The common hand in all this is the United States. It is their military and sanctions regime that destroyed Iraq. It is their heavy hand alternating with malignant neglect that laid Haiti to waste. It is their funds that support the agents of death in the rest of the world.
Not only have they made devastation and called it peace; they have created chaos and called it liberation. In Iraq, the electricity still is not working dependably except on the US bases and most people are still without work or income. Hospitals are operating with minimal supplies and staff. Various ethnic and religious tensions threaten to explode at any given time. Yet the US continues to issue rosy reports with the latest being a story about Iraqi children joining the Boy and Girl Scouts. Now, I don’t pretend to know who engineered the explosions in Kirkuk, Karbala and Baghdad that killed hundreds of Kurds and Shias, but I do know that the standard suspects-Al Queda-have denied involvement in either. Furthermore, I seriously question the theory that the perpetrators were members of the Iraqi resistance. After all, why would a movement that hoped to unite Iraqis against their occupiers kill a bunch of Iraqis? After all, these weren’t Iraqis who were collaborating with the US and its hollow governing council. They were just regular folks celebrating their religious rites.
Do I think the US precipitated these deadly acts? Let me put it this way. The US has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis in the past thirteen years. Some of these human beings were killed by sanctions, some by helicopter gunships, some by precision guided missiles, and some by good old-fashioned carpet-bombing. With this in mind, can one honestly believe that I am out of my mind to even consider US involvement in the aforementioned bomb attacks? From news reports, it seems that as far as many Iraqis are concerned, the US is responsible for these acts, if not directly, then through their continued presence in Iraq and their manipulation of the political situation there to fit their corporate needs. The bottom line in all of this is that war is a very profitable business for certain corporations-corporations that are well represented in this and other US administrations.
On to Haiti. Now, I’ve never believed that the US had any intention of helping out the Haitian people. They weren’t trying to help them out in 1992 when they invaded and they aren’t trying to help them out now. In fact, the only party being helped in either of these endeavors and the time between them (and preceding them) looks to be the band of thugs currently masquerading as the rebel heroes. As any student of Haitian history knows, these elements have been present in Haitian society for decades-as the Ton Macoutes, the army, and FRAPH-and have always had a certain amount of support from various elements in the US intelligence community. This support has appeared to wax and wane according to the administration in power in DC, but has always been a constant. Because of this consistency, these elements have never been truly out of power, although the Aristide years did force them out of the official government. Now, with their new US made guns in hand, they seem to be ready to reinstate the economic and political dynamic of the Papa Doc years: years in which the greatest benefactors were US corporations looking for the cheapest labor force in the hemisphere.
When looking at these situations, one has to ask who benefits from them. If that can be pinpointed, then perhaps one can discover the perpetrators. If the perpetrators can’t be found, then at least the financial backers can be. When one applies this approach to the aforementioned operations, do things become clearer? The United States does benefit from the current chaos in Iraq. Despite being blamed for not providing appropriate security in that country, the deteriorating situation there provides Washington with a very good excuse to remain in that country until it establishes a compliant oil ministry and regime there. In the short term, it also provides the defense industry with an endless source of profits. After all, the military has to be re-supplied, as do the security forces made and paid for by the US. Indeed, the longer this war goes on, the more troops and agents it will require. As if further evidence of this is needed, the Washington Post reported on March 4, 2004 that the current CIA station in Iraq is the largest since Saigon, with over five hundred agents in country. This is a cash cow for the Pentagon, the intelligence services, and all of those corporations that exist solely to supply those two wings of government with people and supplies.
Haiti is only slightly different. It is smaller and closer to the United States. Its citizens have been known to sneak into the US in the hope that they can take care of their families. This later phenomenon is not only frowned on by Washington, it is violently opposed by the US military, with overloaded boats of poor Haitians being captured on the open seas and being repatriated to Haiti or imprisoned in camps with no exit date. Haiti’s history of American endorsed despair is considerably longer than that of Iraq, yet no less devastating. It is a country that has been forever at the mercy of its powerful neighbor to the north, who has done its best to keep Haiti impoverished and Haiti’s neighbor-the Dominican Republic-always under US control. In fact, reports abound that the many of the forces that engineered the current coup in Haiti received their weaponry and support from US agents stationed in the Dominican (which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti). I personally received reports last fall from various alternative news sources that locals were reporting large shipments of small arms and RPGs being unloaded at ports in the Dominican Republic. The original speculation about these shipments was that the weapons were intended for a future invasion of Cuba. Who knows, perhaps the ongoing regime change in Haiti is a prelude to just such an endeavor.
In short, the chaos unleashed in Iraq and Haiti serves the Pentagon and its benefactors well. That being the case, it seems fair to seriously consider the charges of those Iraqis who blame the US for the recent carnage in Kirkuk, Karbala and Baghdad. Likewise, it makes equal sense to take Mr. Aristide at face value when he accuses the US of engineering the “rebellion” that forced his hand in Haiti. Like Hecate, Washington is now not only known for her ability to bestow riches on those who would worship her, but for her cruelty as well.
RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is being republished by Verso.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org