Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Call "traveling!"






If it was just one person, Bully Boy Bush would have been impeached, would be on trial for War Crimes.  But our desire to reduce it all to one bad guy?  It's not truthful.

Just like it's not truthful to claim -- as some outlets have in the last seven days -- that the Iraq War didn't benefit American companies.  First off, as we've stated many times before (here for an example), they're multi-national.  This isn't the 1940s.  They have no obligations to the United States -- Congress and their boards have seen to that.  It's why they don't care that the jobs go overseas.  It was a natural resource war that opened markets.  Antonia Juhasz (CNN) explains:

Yes, the Iraq War was a war for oil, and it was a war with winners: Big Oil.

It has been 10 years since Operation Iraqi Freedom's bombs first landed in Baghdad. And while most of the U.S.-led coalition forces have long since gone, Western oil companies are only getting started.
Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq's domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies. A decade of war later, it is largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms.

In 2000, the Council on Foreign Relations and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University put forward "Strategic Energy Policy Challenges for the 21st Century:"

For many decades the United States has not had a comprehensive energy policy. Now, the consequences of this complacency have revealed themselves in California. Now, there could be more California-like situations in America’s future. President George W. Bush and his administration need to tell these agonizing truths to the American people and lay the basis for a comprehensive, long-term U.S. energy security policy.
That Americans face long-term situations such as frequent sporadic shortages of energy, energy price volatility, and higher energy prices is not the fault of President Bush. The failure to fashion a workable energy policy rests at the feet of both Democrats and Republicans. Both major political parties allowed energy policy to drift despite its centrality to America’s domestic economy and to national security. Energy policy was permitted to drift even though oil price spikes preceded virtually every American recession since the late 1940s. The American people must know about this situation and be told as well that there are no easy or quick solutions to today’s energy problems. The president has to begin educating the public about this reality and start building a broad base of popular support for the hard policy choices ahead.
This executive summary and the full report address the following questions. What are the potential effects of the critical energy situation for the United States? How did this critical energy situation arise? What are the U.S. policy options to deal with the energy situation? What should the United States do now?

Energy has long been a concern of presidents.  November 25, 1973, Tricky Dick Nixon took a little break from breaking various laws to address the nation about the energy policies:

As we reduce gasoline supplies, we must act to insure that the remaining gasoline available is used wisely and conserved to the fullest possible extent.
Therefore, as a second step, I am asking tonight that all gasoline filling stations close down their pumps between 9 p.m. Saturday night and midnight Sunday every weekend, beginning December 1. We are requesting that this step be taken voluntarily now.
Upon passage of the emergency energy legislation before the Congress, gas stations will be required to close during these hours. This step should not result in any serious hardship for any American family. It will, however, discourage long-distance driving during weekends. It will mean perhaps spending a little more time at home.
This savings alone is only a small part of what we have to conserve to meet the total gasoline shortage. We can achieve substantial additional savings by altering our driving habits. While the voluntary response to my request for reduced driving speeds has been excellent, it is now essential 'that we have mandatory and full compliance with this important step on a nationwide basis.
And therefore, the third step will be the establishment of a maximum speed limit for automobiles of 50 miles per hour nationwide as soon as our emergency energy legislation passes the Congress. We expect that this measure will produce a savings of 200,000 barrels of gasoline per day. Intercity buses and heavy-duty trucks, which operate more efficiently at higher speeds and therefore do not use more gasoline, will be permitted to observe a 55 mile-per-hour speed limit.
The fourth step we are taking involves our jet airliners. There will be a phased reduction of an additional 15 percent in the consumption of jet fuel for passenger flights bringing the total reduction to approximately 25 percent.
These savings will be achieved. by a careful reduction in schedules, combined with an increase in passenger loads. We will not have to stop air travel, but we will have to plan for it more carefully.
The fifth step involves cutting back on outdoor lighting. As soon as the emergency energy legislation passes the Congress, I shall order the curtailment of ornamental outdoor lighting for homes and the elimination of all commercial lighting except that which identifies places of business.
In the meantime, we are already planning right here at the White House to curtail such lighting that we would normally have at Christmastime, and I am asking that all of you act now on a voluntary basis to reduce or eliminate unnecessary lighting in your homes.

The speech, when remembered today, is remembered largely for Nixon telling people to turn their thermostat's down six degrees (it was winter, the issue was the use of energy for heating).  'Wear a sweater' was what Jimmy Carter's February 2, 1977 speech was reduced to.  Sitting in the White House next to a burning fire place, Carter declared:

The extremely cold weather this winter has dangerously depleted our supplies of natural gas and fuel oil and forced hundreds of thousands of workers off the job. I congratulate the Congress for its quick action on the Emergency Natural Gas Act, which was passed today and signed just a few minutes ago. But the real problem—our failure to plan for the future or to take energy conservation seriously—started long before this winter, and it will take much longer to solve.

I realize that many of you have not believed that we really have an energy problem. But this winter has made all of us realize that we have to act.

Now, the Congress has already made many of the preparations for energy legislation. Presidential assistant Dr. James Schlesinger is beginning to direct an effort to develop a national energy policy. Many groups of Americans will be involved. On April 20, we will have completed the planning for our energy program and will immediately then ask the Congress for its help in enacting comprehensive legislation.

Our program will emphasize conservation. The amount of energy being wasted which could be saved is greater than the total energy that we are importing from foreign countries. We will also stress development of our rich coal reserves in an environmentally sound way; we will emphasize research on solar energy and other renewable energy sources; and we will maintain strict safeguards on necessary atomic energy production.

Energy concerns pre-date Bully Boy Bush.   After the Supreme Court installed Bush and Cheney into the White House following a disputed election that, if no recounts were done, should have been decided by the Congress, not the unelected Supreme Court, Dick Cheney started his energy task force -- a task force that met in secret and that he didn't want the public to know about.  Right-wing watchdog Judicial Watch sued -- along with the Sierra Club -- and, due to a court order, the Commerce Dept was forced to turn over some documents from the Cheney Energy Task force which included "a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.  The documents, which are dated March 2001 [. . . .]."  The documents were turned over in July of 2003, after the Iraq War started.  The fact that they prompted no intense media discussions goes to the fact that they weren't really that surprising.  Project Censored did take it seriously and noted:

Documented plans of occupation and exploitation predating September 11 confirm heightened suspicion that U.S. policy is driven by the dictates of the energy industry. According to Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton, “These documents show the importance of the Energy Task Force and why its operations should be open to the public.”
When first assuming office in early 2001, President Bush’s top foreign policy priority was not to prevent terrorism or to curb the spread of weapons of mass destruction-or any of the other goals he espoused later that year following 9-11. Rather, it was to increase the flow of petroleum from suppliers abroad to U.S. markets. In the months before he became president, the United States had experienced severe oil and natural gas shortages in many parts of the country, along with periodic electrical power blackouts in California. In addition, oil imports rose to more than 50% of total consumption for the first time in history, provoking great anxiety about the security of the country’s long-term energy supply. Bush asserted that addressing the nation’s “energy crisis” was his most important task as president.
The energy turmoil of 2000-01 prompted Bush to establish a task force charged with developing a long-range plan to meet U.S. energy requirements. With the advice of his close friend and largest campaign contributor, Enron CEO, Ken Lay, Bush picked Vice President Dick Cheney, former Halliburton CEO, to head this group. In 2001 the Task Force formulated the National Energy Policy (NEP), or Cheney Report, bypassing possibilities for energy independence and reduced oil consumption with a declaration of ambitions to establish new sources of oil.

We could include Wolfowitz here but I think he's better for another topic so let's go to 2007 when Peter Beaumont and Joanna Walters (Observer) report the following:

The man once regarded as the world's most powerful banker has bluntly declared that the Iraq war was 'largely' about oil.Appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1987 and retired last year after serving four presidents, Alan Greenspan has been the leading Republican economist for a generation and his utterings instantly moved world markets.
In his long-awaited memoir - out tomorrow in the US - Greenspan, 81, who served as chairman of the US Federal Reserve for almost two decades, writes: 'I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.'

After the publication of Greenspan's book, Bob Woodward (Washington Post) interviewed him and reported, "Greenspan said disruption of even 3 to 4 million barrels a day could translate into oil prices as high as $120 a barrel -- far above even the recent highs of $80 set last week -- and the loss of anything more would mean 'chaos' to the global economy."  A year later, as Patrick Martin (WSWS) noted, then GOP presidential candidate John McCain would declare, "My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East.  That will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East."

It was a resource war.  It became part of the national energy policy.  And the reason Bully Boy Bush hasn't been punished is that, for all the fuming, it's not just Republicans.  Many Democrats were on board.  And many outlets were as well.  The people were largely 'shielded' from the truth for various reasons but that's what the Iraq War was about.  Even before the illegal war started, there were people who rightly noted that it would be a war for oil.  But those voices were mocked and silenced.  And a large number of people who heard those voices chose not to believe that 'my country' could do such a thing.

It's that segment that the shielding was necessary for.  Those of us against the war were going to protest regardless.  But 'settling on a reason,' as Paul Wolfowitz put it to Vanity Fair in May 2003, was about selling the Iraq War and building support for it.  There is a chance that they could have built support for it honestly.  They could have tried to fire up the country in a "We will have this oil!" type of manner.  Marauders have existed historically for decades.  The Danish marauders (that would be the Vikings), for example, attacked England beginning in 793.  And maybe there would have been support in the US for the attack on Iraq if the administration had chosen to sell it as, "We'll have the oil we need!"  And maybe in England and Australia as well -- where Tony Blair and John Howard were pulling their armies into the war.  But the danger then would not be domestic.  The danger then would be that the world would not just condemn but declare war on the US, the UK and Australia.  Because without the lie of 'liberation' -- without that noble lie that Plato established the need for in The Republic -- invading Iraq for oil is just a crime. "An illegitimate act of aggression," as Kamrul Idris (New Strait Times) notes the Malaysian government called it in real time.

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