The permanent occupation of Iraq

By John Cranfill of Ophir, Oregon. John describes himself as a "freelance writer and social commentator."

The Associated Press reports the United States is currently building an "Embassy" in Baghdad that will cover 104 acres and consist of twenty-one buildings. Commentators say it will rival Vatican City in size.

We're also constructing 14 permanent military installations in Iraq, some with bowling alleys and movie theaters. Is it not clear our government intends to stay? Coupled with plans for a "regime change" in Iran, it is apparent to almost everyone by now some group in DC has decided it is OK for us to invade and usurp another country for their natural resources, and concoct some outlandish story to cover their tracks.

Is it any wonder we have an "insurgency" in Iraq? Understandably, they want their country back, and apparently we do not intend to give it to them except through some puppet government.

I might go along with this scheme if I thought it could move the Middle East into the 21st Century. Someplace back in the Middle Ages, they got stuck in history, and left behind. From leading the parade of civilization, they now clean up after the horses. A glorious civilization does not deserve this, but that's what colonization brought.

If we consider the medical advances, economic growth, social advantages, educational change, and jobs that modernization has brought to the rest of the world, only a fool would reject joining us. But that is not what we are offering. An educated population tends to be a pain in the butt. They read, they write, they think, and they question the status quo. They believe in Democracy. Imagine that! They actually want to have a voice in their own governance. The Iraqis see what's being offered, and they want no part of it. If we were invaded, would we do less?

Imagine a political stew that already contains the Israelis, the Palestinians, Hamas, Fatah, Al Qaeda, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Taliban, and hosts of lesser factions with their own axe to grind, and you begin to get a sense of what we face. Add to this simmering pot, China, which already uses one-third the energy we do, and at 9% a year, grows faster than any other country on the face of the planet, and the kettle becomes very crowded indeed. China just signed an oil trade pact with Iran, and may be helping with their nuclear ambitions, as are India, Russia, North Korea, and A.Q Khan, the nuclear George Washington Carver of Pakistan.

What part of this scenario gives you a tremulous hand, gentle reader? Does the news the Chinese are building up their military give you pause? Why the sudden Chinese interest in submarines, and their massive missile buildup across the Taiwanese Straits? What about the role a wild ass state like North Korea might play? They're selling their missile technology to whoever has the money, and according to the CIA, they're now on their way to building eight nuclear weapons. We are holding Naval exercises in the Pacific, even as we speak, as are China and Russia. Cheery, no?

The U.S. gambit in the Mid-East is fraught with danger, if not disaster itself. We tried it in Vietnam. We assumed our lead in war technologies superceded anything else the other side could throw at us, but we found it didn't work. Relentless determination and disregard of casualties by the North Vietnamese proved far more important than guns, bullets, and carpet-bombing B-52's.

So why do we pursue this course again? We've alienated the rest of the world including some of our most important allies, and we are deeply in debt to countries that could be our potential enemies. Why haven't we invested time and money into advanced technologies such as solar, tidal, wind, geothermal, and the like, or even gas/electric or more bio-diesel? Instead we chase petroleum around the world as if it were the Holy Grail?

Because there's money in'nit gentle reader! Instead of building an infrastructure of public transportation many years ago, we chose to invest in the auto industry. We built super highways from sea to shining sea and actually ripped up urban rail lines. Why?

And now, because no one has figured out how to make fertilizers, plastics and a host of other by-products out of something besides oil, we have become totally dependent upon petro-chemicals and oil energy. The oily boys now are trying to drill in our national parks and wildlife preserves for the vaunted goal of "Energy Independence," even though they know full well the oil reserves will last a few short years at best, and run incredible environmental risks all the while.

They don't give squat. "There's gold in them there hills!" the energy boys say. An' they intend to get it. The Japanese design and build multi-fuel vehicles that get 50 miles to the gallon, while we build Hummers and SUV's. The Dutch are using tidal energy to make electricity while we periodically try to bring back nuclear power. What part of our extortionate war plan to gain oil seems incredibly stupid? Over 2500 people have already died in Iraq and 17,000 have been injured. For those who play this economic game, who cares? It earns vast sums for them, and promises more in the future. The dead and injured are just the costs of playing the game. Costs others will bear.

Is the price of gas going up? This year alone, profits for oil companies are up by billions. That's not an exaggeration. That's a figure. You've read our little CEO friend, Lee Raymond, just retired with a $400,000,000 boot out the door from Exxon. Nice golden parachute, Lee! He can certainly fill his tank. Can he survive on $100 a second? Gee, I hope so. While oil companies whine piteously about rising costs, they play us like a badly tuned piano and continue to jack up the prices.

The average monthly income for people on Social Security is $900 dollars a month. That's about $11,000 dollars a year and very near the poverty line. The Exxon guy earns that in 6 hours.... Sound asleep. Retired. Watching TV. Playing golf. Having dinner at "21." Yachting in the Mediterranean. Cleaning his toenails, gambling in Monte Carlo or Vegas, lounging by the pool, taking a sauna.... and that doesn't even cover his earned interest.

Out of all the earth's resources, we have allowed big oil to become the Nobel Prize. The Holy Grail. I don't know what our government is trying to spread in its' pursuit of oil, but it certainly is not freedom. And as frightening as it may seem to anyone paying attention, it looks like we may be slowly drifting towards World War III to divide up whatever of it remains.

  • Chris (unverified)

    Hope everyone enjoys an atmosphere of spent uranium.

  • Travis (unverified)

    I think this is a very terrible move on the U.S.'s behalf. Much of the reason the Middle East dislikes us is because of our strong military and political presence there. If you look back to when we setup our first military bases in Saudi Arabia you will notice that bin Laden started attacking U.S. soldiers more. Having a base there may be a good thing, but leave it empty so we do not have a large presence that will encourage future terrorist attacks. With a huge embassy like this, it also makes it look more like the U.S. is just setting up a puppet regime. This embassy will only piss off the insurgency and get attacked, putting more U.S. citizens at risk. We need to start working on redeploying our troops out of Iraq and getting the Iraq’s trained, not building compounds that show we will be occupying your country for a long time.

    -Travis VP UO College Dems

  • Karl (unverified)

    This provision passed both the house and senate. It was then illegally deleted in commitee. Its inclusion would have barred the use of monies appropriated in the bill for the building of permanent U.S. bases in Iraq. Many people worked hard to get that provision passed. It would have taken away one of the justifications for the resistance's killing our kids there. When people in both the legialture and executive thumb their noses at our democratic and legal process, what does the future hold for us?

    From Reuters June 10, 2006

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans killed a provision in an Iraq war funding bill that would have put the United States on record against the permanent basing of U.S. military facilities in that country, a lawmaker and congressional aides said Friday.

    The $94.5-billion emergency spending bill, which includes $65.8 billion to continue waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is expected to be approved by Congress next week and sent to President Bush for his signature.

    [remainder of copyrighted cut and pasted article deleted. please use links, not theft. -editor]

  • Buckman Res (unverified)

    In the very near future, as the world’s supply of oil shrinks and demand rises, control of the MidEast oil fields will become the principal objective of U.S. foreign policy. Oil will become paramount to other nations and China in particular as its economy increases and demands more energy.

    This was the real reason the Bush administration went to war in Iraq. Not Sadam, not WMDs. And all those in the Senate and House who voted for war knew the importance of establishing permanent bases in the Middle East and installing a regime the U.S. would have some control over. When the showdown comes with China over who controls the remaining oil supply, an American military presence in Iraq will have an important effect on the outcome.

    With the amount of military muscle the U.S. has this was viewed as the preferred way to deal with the coming energy problem, instead of developing alternatives to oil. This is the path those in power have chosen for our country and the permanent bases are a critical part of that plan.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    Was that the Greek, Turkish, British or American colonization of Iraq? Oh, Iraq didn't exist before the British colonization. Of course by "British" we mean Indian.

    The nation state is a 19th century concept. What do you expect until the day comes when groups of culturally and geographically bound persons can act autonomously, without using the nation state as an intermediate broker?

    How about going back to the 1980s and finally addressing the issues that got us here? That was when we declared that we could board and search any vessel on the high seas, previously an act of war, and that civil rights would have to take a back seat to the war on drugs. The tactics honed there are the very ones being used today to accomplish empire. I knew there was no hope when the original Patriot Act debate saw statements like, "we're not asking for anything we can't already do with suspected drug criminals". And not one person ever said, "that was wrong too".

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