by Philip Greenspan
(Swans - November 20, 2006) Ron Suskind did not initially grasp the implications of a senior Bush advisor who ridiculed the "reality-based community" and bragged, ". . . when we act, we create our own reality. . ." In time, those statements took on more meaning as the numerous lies of the administration were exposed. I.F. Stone's dictum, Governments Lie, states simply and precisely what the advisor had in mind; and reveals what all administrations do. But would any other administration have the chutzpah to willingly disclose, no matter how tastefully expressed, that it will lie -- and to a reporter no less?
Lies have done in other administrations that could have saved themselves with timely admissions of error and appropriate corrections of policy. Johnson, as the body count rose, kept seeing the "end of the tunnel." The electorate, disgusted with the war like now, switched parties so Nixon could fulfill his promise to end the war with a secret plan. Instead, he continued it through his entire first term with expansions into Laos and Cambodia. Now, Bush hangs on while his former advocates and supporters admit it's a lost cause. All administrations attempt to con the public by repeatedly claiming progress and eventual success. They succeed for awhile but usually the public eventually learns the truth.
Why do Bush and the administration yes-men stubbornly restate nonsense when former loyal advocates and supporters have defected? Have they ironically conned themselves into believing the lies they have been dishing out? No. Foolish, dumb, or crazy they may be, but what keeps them on this tack and what got them into the mess were extremely potent motivations. They will hang on -- stay the course -- long after it becomes obvious that their cause is lost.
What is the primary and strongest of those motivations? OIL. An essential resource that is depleting at an accelerating rate as demand for that resource keeps increasing. To satisfy Uncle Sam's insatiable needs and to remain a superpower, it is imperative for the U.S. to control a sizeable chunk of that resource. Iraq is where such a chunk is available. The U.S. went there to get it and to stay. It had no exit strategy because it had no intent to exit. The U.S. has spent megabucks building "enduring camps," i.e., military bases, in Iraq to keep the U.S. firmly in the Middle East well into the future.
Democrats, the big winners in the election, like the Republicans are in agreement on the importance of Middle East oil. Expect no major policy changes from them. Historically, both parties have latched on to the Middle East in a big way. FDR realized its importance during WWII when he declared Saudi Arabia a vital interest of the U.S. and entered into an agreement -- security for access to oil -- with King ibn Saud. That agreement has been honored and extended by every administration since. During Ike's administration, the CIA ousted the democratically-elected Iranian leader who nationalized that country's oil, Mohammad Mossedegh. He was replaced by the Shah who opened the gates for US and Western oil interests. A presidential directive issued by Jimmy Carter secretly launched the Mujahideen (the predecessors of al Qaeda) to intervention in Afghanistan. His Carter Doctrine declared that military force would be invoked to protect US vital interests in the Persian Gulf region. While Reagan did not send the US military into the region, he did the next best thing. He illegally provided tyrant Saddam Hussein with weapons and intelligence in Iraq's war with the more abhorrent Iran. The two Bushes did move US fighting troops into the region by embarking on three wars, and Clinton bombed Iraq and other countries in the interim. Ever since the Israelis defeated Nasser's Egypt in the Six-Day War and became Uncle Sam's proxy and guardian of its Middle East interests it has enjoyed the overwhelming backing of every US administration.
The U.S. has too much at stake in the oil rich Middle East to give up now. Troop reductions to appease the public will occur but a military presence, a clandestine presence perhaps, will remain. The U.S. won't willingly get out. It must be forced out!
The U.S. just had an election, the essence of American democracy. The electorate goes once a year to a nearby location and invariably chooses the lesser of two evil, Tweedledees and Tweedledums, and that is what is known as -- fanfare please -- American style DEMOCRACY! Yes, a government supposedly of, by, and for the people is a government the electorate considers evil. It's not a government that the citizenry truly want. And in every election more eligible voters pass up that dubious voting privilege than those who choose the evil winner.
Isn't it obvious why countries offered American-style democracy have been unwilling to accept it? The propaganda emanating from official sources claims that they are not ready for it. Baloney! People are not only ready but eager for legitimate representation of their interests! What they don't want is to swallow the interests of a colonial power fed to them by a resident puppet. Right now the Iraqis are engaged in a more meaningful election. An election to determine if the American bully will rule their country through subterfuge or if the bum will get kicked out. The citizenry are so committed to this election they have put their lives and limbs on the line for the ultimate result. Many have already made the sacrifice.
The North Koreans and Vietnamese, confronted with a similar situation, battled tenaciously against overwhelming odds, but succeeded in giving the bully the boot. In each of those situations the stakes for the U.S. were not as great as in Iraq. The U.S. will hang on and on hoping to work out some settlement that is not a total defeat and a complete ouster from that oil-rich area! It would seem that it will be quite a while before Uncle Sam throws in the sponge.
It is possible, although not likely, that the Iraq adventure may terminate more quickly than the hawks expect. The election results might impact an essential group, the GIs -- the guys and gals whom the politicos and military exploited with the "Support the Troops" ploy to maintain popular backing of the war. Polls have indicated that the GIs want out, O-U-T. Most enlistees did not intend to make the military a career. They were enticed to join because it offered the benefits of a paid college education -- an opportunity for the poor to lift themselves out of poverty. The national guardsmen and reservists have jobs and careers in civilian life and family responsibilities. They never expected to be fighting a long war far from home. They all responded to the call but with the passage of time are becoming frustrated and disgusted. The election results reassure them that their active resistance to the war will receive sympathetic consideration. AWOLs will increase, pleas of conscientious objection will increase, and an unspeakable, unthinkable, unimaginable activity might emerge that will quickly terminate the Iraq adventure -- a massive MUTINY!!! Impossible? No, it occurred in Vietnam!
A more likely forecast for the Middle East and the U.S. is continuing turmoil and violence -- hot, heavy, and prolonged.
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