Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Global Iraq

Earlier this morning I posted a link to a January 10 speech President Bush gave to the VFW, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. It's actually quite a speech to review. It contained some interesting points. The first that really stood out to me was the president's definition of "victory" in Iraq. In previous speeches that I have noted, Bush linked victory directly to the notion that Iraq would become a US ally in the war on terror. In this speech, he separated those two concepts by a paragraph break, suggesting that just maybe it would be possible to have victory in Iraq without Iraq becoming a US base for launching further strikes in that war. But then again, this was just a paragraph break. Here is how the president defined victory in Iraq:
"Victory will come when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy. Victory will come when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens. Victory will come when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation."
Note that Bush again linked Iraq to terrorists plotting attacks on the US, the elusive 9/11 connection. Take note, Republicans, when you claim Bush doesn't do this. Bush plants in our minds the assumption that Iraq has been "a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation" and we are fighting to end that situation.
But the important thing is that Bush did not say victory will come when Iraq becomes an ally with the United States in the war on terror. He reserved that for the next paragraph:
"And when victory comes and democracy takes hold in Iraq..." other nations will join by example and "we will gain new allies in the cause of freedom."
It's still troubling that Bush is painting such a rosy picture of the Middle East. We can't seriously believe all this will come about peacefully. The real question remains will Iraq tolerate the US spreading the war to neighboring countries using Iraqi military installations as our base. We already know the neo-con agenda, so the question is will Iraq allow it.
The second significant point that the president brings up is even more subtle. Bush claims that the war isn't about oil and isn't about Israel, that even suggesting such irresponsibly risks the lives of US troops, is partisan, disloyal, and defeatist. So, one might ask, what constitutes a loyal appraisal of the reason for the war? In my mind, Bush gives a few hints in this speech.
Of course there's the argument for democracy. Judging by what's been going on in recent years on K Street in Washington, one might question the definition of the word "democracy" in a Republican's mind. Here's lobbyist Jack Abramof not only encouraging corporations to bribe congressmen, but actually being a Republican operative in a game that extorts corporate donations to further the Republican agenda, the new Republican pay to play game.
But democracy isn't the only, or even the real, reason for the Iraq War.
In this speech, Bush mentioned private property rights. I'm guessing he wasn't speaking about whether the Iraqi people had the right to own their own home. I'm guessing his reference was more along the lines of the neo-liberal idea that resources and social services should be owned by private corporations rather than by the state. Energy supplies, water supplies, public transportation, communications, and any other public services should be privately (corporately) owned and operated for profit.
Bush notes that Iraq has already taken the first step in that direction with gasoline prices, emphasizing that Iraq's leaders are removing gasoline subsidies. Just how gasoline subsidies encourage the black market is a mystery to me. It seems that the opposite would be the case. Black markets thrive when governments either restrict supply or artificially elevate prices, not the other way around. Is Bush saying that government subsidies somehow reduce the supply of gasoline to the people? Government inefficiency is an old argument that favors free market supply and demand economics, a concept generally associated with "private" corporate ownership and control of supply. Considering that under Saddam, the Iraqi government owned the oil resources and that now under Bush there is a strong movement to privatize those resources, it might be a good guess that such privatization is what Bush is talking about.
Bush went on to emphasize debt relief. His mention of Malta opens a Pandora's box that I won't go into here. But Iraq has become an interest of both the IMF and the World Bank, both classic tools of the neo-liberal movement. Loans from the IMF and the World Bank generally are provided conditionally, on condition that the recipient nations undergo certain politically-driven economic transformations, most notably the privatization of the public sector. Again, privatization.
For anyone who has been paying any attention at all recently to economics, the keyword in world economics is now globalization. Bush does not mention this term in this speech. He mentions global war, but not global economics. Yet the objectives of globalization are exactly the transformations now going on in Iraq. The Iraq war is liberating Iraqi oil resources for global corporate investment under the supervision of the Bush administration. In addition, Iraq is undergoing an economic transformation to become a model in the Middle East for a privatized economy, an economy controlled by corporate interests, corporate profits, rather than by public socialist interests.
What has made that transformation possible in Iraq? The war.
What was used as justification for the war? 9/11
Now I ask you, wasn't it amazing that Osama bin-Laden has empowered the neo-liberals in this way? No wonder Rumsfeld called 9/11 a "blessing in disguise."

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