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imperialism & war

I'm confused, would like input (WAR RELATED)

This is not news, but I would like some input on issues related to the very potential war on Iraq, and I figured that Portland IndyMedia would be a great place to obtain diverse opinions about this subject.
I've been thinking... it seems that Iraq does have biological and chemical weapons, since it has been documented that the United States has supplied these arsenal; whether Iraq has nuclear weapons is debatable, I am not familiar with this scenerio.

Perhaps Iraq would be a threat to our country and our domination if Iraq would pursue and succeed in intimidating nearby Middle Eastern countries with its weapons and therefore challenge U.S. interests in the region. Considering the advantage that oil would allow American corporations and our government in obtaining a strategic influence in this region, regardless of the assumption that Saddam Hussein is an undesirable, dangerous madman, in my opinion, wouldn't a war in this region assist in perpetuating American imperialism and the disproportionately high share of wealth and resources that the U.S. holds?

It would seem that a war with Iraq would have several, although selfish, benefits: to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein, and to gain access to Iraq's abundant oil reserves, among other, possible objectives.

My question is, besides the fact that wars are extremely horrible and they should be avoided at all costs, wouldn't it appear that, from the perspective of a powerful nation such as the U.S., that, in order to maintain our global domination and exploitation, wars such as these are necessary? This is not to imply that I'm trying to give justification for such destructive interests, but a friend mentioned to me earlier today that wars are started by those on top, and it just so happens that the U.S. is currently on top. I think these are valid concerns that should be debated. I would like some feedback on others' opinions, because for several months I have been against war, and now I am confused as to the objectives behind the war and the implications they would have for the United States as a whole.

I am aware that the U.S. spends nearly $400 billion dollars on our military, so I am not oblivious to the fact that this amount of spending would take away much-needed finances from other services such as education and healthcare. I am also concerned that corporate interests have hijacked the American domestic and foreign policy-making networks in this country, and that citizen's voices aren't being heard. Perhaps a war on Iraq would merely serve corporate interests, but there are certainly connections between the corporate economy, the military, and the political directorate. (sure, I sound a lot like C. Wright Mills, but sociology is a major foundation for attempting to analyze political structures)

Anyone with opinions on this potential war will be appreciated. Thanks.
good hunch there 01.Feb.2003 05:21

concerned citizen

I think your instincts and your intellect are serving you well. This was is not just about ousting a known tyrant, as the news media will have you believe. If you look at the people in control of this country (read: the Bush administration) you will see this war is mainly about oil. A short glimpse of G.W. Bush's history in the corporate community will also show who he is loyal to. Another avenue of interest may be his connection to the "skull and bones" group, out at Yale. Sorry, but i have no links to provide, just points that ma be interesting for you.
Another thing that bugs me is the fact that Israel has the most dangerous weapons of Mass destruction in the region, yet recieve little to no coverage in the media, or attention from the people running the country. This bugs me, because it is hypocritical, with a capital H. Other countries as well handle these dangerous WMD, and so leads me to believe it is the Iraqi oil fields which the powers lust for.
Just one opinion of the many out there.............Good Luck!

Hmm 01.Feb.2003 05:45

Radar

Yes, wars are always for resources. Sometimes you are on the side that starts it, and sometimes you are on the side that defends. We are I believe on the side that starts. I really think that Saddam is a really bad guy, but dropping 800 scud missiles on Baghdad won't save the Iraqi people from him. It will just kill them. As for protecting the US, I think that we are in more danger from Korea. Besides, Besides, isn't this like cornering a scared animal? Won't this make an attack from them more likely? THat scares me. Really scares me. But is any of this an excuse for this severe warmongering? I just think that this kind of war should be a last resort, not a first option.

Israel agenda finally mentioned 01.Feb.2003 06:00

canthemiddleclassberadicalized?

Good point that Israeli policy is hardly ever covered... came across this accurate summary of decades of Israeli policy the other day though, with quotes from Sharon...and was totally surprised to find this in the NY Times of all places....


 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/30/international/middleeast/30ISRA.html

Puzzle for Israel: What Does Sharon Want?
By JAMES BENNET

TEL AVIV, Jan. 29 As Prime Minister Ariel Sharon set about wooing potential coalition partners today, a familiar question recurred in Israeli political circles: what does Mr. Sharon want?

With his smashing victory over the left-of-center Labor Party, he is now in position to do precisely what his rightist Likud Party officially demands: to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
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Mr. Sharon would now easily have majority support in Parliament to expel Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader a step he has said he wants to take and to accelerate the already rapid growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. He is free to tighten the already harsh restrictions on the more than three million Palestinians who live there.

Yet today Mr. Sharon urgently appealed for the seemingly crippled Labor Party, whose votes he does not need for a majority, to join a new governing coalition. Likud soared from 19 seats in the 120-seat Parliament to 37, while Labor fell from 25 to 19, its poorest showing ever.

The appeal awakened a long-running debate over what, precisely, Mr. Sharon is after. He has repeatedly said he would make "painful concessions" for peace, but he has not spelled out what the concessions would be.

One theory, held by Palestinians and leftist Israelis, is that Mr. Sharon, master strategist, is seeking the political camouflage that Labor's participation would give his rightist policies.

Amram Mitzna, Labor's leader, believes that Labor played that role for Mr. Sharon in his last coalition government and paid the price for its compromised identity in the voting on Tuesday.

The other theory, held by many settlers, is that Mr. Sharon, master strategist, wants to confound the hawks by reaching a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians. The Labor Party would serve as political leverage, not camouflage.

According to that theory, Mr. Sharon, at 74, wants to vault into the ranks of Israeli peacemakers like Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin, and to erase the blots on his own record. Meir Sheetrit, a moderate Likud politician, likes to say that with a second term Mr. Sharon has the chance to "make history" or "be history."

"I think he wants to make history," said Mr. Sheetrit, who favors the resumption of a peace effort.

There is, of course, another possibility: that Mr. Sharon is a master tactician, not a master strategist, and that he is trying to survive in office and retain the backing of the United States while advancing in a general direction, rather than toward a specific goal.

Mr. Sharon opposed the Oslo peace agreement as a threat to Israeli security, and as Palestinian violence has continued, Israel has taken back almost all of the autonomy that was granted to the Palestinian Authority under Oslo.

Mr. Sharon always feared and distrusted Yasir Arafat, and under Mr. Sharon Israel has in effect imprisoned the Palestinian leader in Ramallah. Mr. Sharon always supported the settlements, and under him the settlements have grown.

The prime minister supports what he calls a long-term interim arrangement with the Palestinians. That is effectively what he has now, with no talks toward a final settlement of the dispute under way. All this has happened with the Bush administration's acquiescence if not outright support.

"My guess is, without the deaths and the loss of life, the situation now is probably as close to what he would want as he could imagine," said Asher Arian, a political scientist at Haifa University. "He's not really negotiating. He's not moving. He's building the settlements."

According to that theory, Mr. Sharon actually means what he says as, it might be noted, he himself claims. "What I say, I mean, and what I mean, I say," Mr. Sharon recently told foreign reporters.

In his autobiography, "Warrior," Mr. Sharon wrote that while he was leading Israel's crack paratroopers in the 1950's, he decided that a policy of mere retaliation or deterrence was not enough to secure a haven for Jews in a region dominated by Arabs.

His goal, he said, "was to create in the Arabs a psychology of defeat, to beat them every time and to beat them so decisively that they would develop the conviction that they would never win."

. 01.Feb.2003 10:48

Metal Pancreas

V (original poster), you have made many succint points. But what I think is the simplest point of all is that killing people is never a final answer. You will enrage whoever you don't impress if you kill a large population of people. America is acting like a schoolyard bully in that it is not willing to solve its problems diplomatically via international policy and the UN. Of course, this kind of action would illuminate how unfair America is treating the rest of the world, especially those parts that are developing and/or have different ideologies (communist, Islamic, etc.). And America can't have that coming to the forefront.

What is important is that while we are protesting this war we must increase our efforts to reform our country's greedy ways. This protest alone will only stop this war until another one foments. Then we will have to mount another anti-war movement to stop that one. Better to maintain a steady pressure on sustainability and global diplomacy. In fact, I don't see any other way to keep terrorist activity minimized (you'll never completely excise terrorism from the world- technology is now too advanced.).

The way I see it, simplified, is:
Corporations are voracious and all-consuming, without a first thought about human life, ecology or anything natural and organic.
Corporations are what make people rich, what with their profits.
Our government is comprised of current and ex businessmen.
These "ex" businessmen are plundering the earth for natural resources to feed into their corporate machines.
The government is using its outrageously enormous army to keep the world under control and make it do what it wants.

Therefore- we threaten Iraq with war so that we can take its oil.

Bush Admirer says "The 'it's about oil' argument is a dog that won't hunt -- a liberal fantasy. Securing the area and fighting a war with Saddam would cost us money, not make us money -- and it will cost us lots of money."

That's utter bullshit. Have you ever seen a car run by shoving dollar bills down its tank?

To our government some things are more important than money, and some things are more important than human life.

It is high time that we change that. We have such an outrageous military budget because it allows us to keep the world in a strangle hold. If we were to take that money and reallocate it within our country for domestic use, within a few years we would not have the 400 Billion dollars that we allocate to the war machine to redistribute because the war machine pays for itself. What is called for is a massive restructuring of the american way of life. We have to reclaim the people who are drones to the tv, to the capitalist system and to the teat of death that our corporate government has offered them to suckle on.

So, in closing, I believe we must not focus on one thing solely and work on the reclamation and restructuring of our people and communities and also work on the strengthening of our common humanity with the rest of the world, especially with those people who seem so foreign and strange to us. These are our common brethren and we share this earth we them. If we murder them in any name we murder our chances for peace and global sanity.

Exactly how i feel. 01.Feb.2003 13:26

FIX THE PLUNGER

I'm a big history buff and you can hear the same things the pro Vietnam politicians and war secretaries(we even have some that were in the Vietnam war still in power) They said Vietnam would be 'quick and easy', 'low casualties', they rolled out the whole communist are bad and will ruin America shtick. What did Vietnam turn out to be? It was a huge slaughter of humans, the NVA fought for their lives, and we kept killing them, as bad as they killed us. Then we used dirtier tactics, Agent Orange, napalmed forrest, and whatnot. What I'm saying is we are being lied to again, and I hate it when history repeats itself.
Also, after this war is averted we have to still fight our leaders, the same situation was present when Reagan was President. He had plans of huge tax cuts for the rich, our Congressmen let him do it. Some Democrats thought we should let him build himself a hole, and did not fight. That was a mistake we can't afford this time, we have te fight them at every point.
Bush's plans to let investors get tax cuts estate tax cuts for the rich. Even Clinton was quoted as saying he would save $100,000 and that he's not the one that needs the help. Bush's plan will cripple our economy, enviroment, reshape our hopes of getting cheap affordable healthcare. Don't forget about his Tort reforms, thats pretty much the last thing the Unions have struggled to hold onto, our once strong Unions are failing. It will leave us with our heads spinning.
"Who controls the past now, controls the future."

Answer to *V's* question 01.Feb.2003 17:42

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

Is this war "necessary," you ask? That is entirely philosophical. My personal belief is that it will do much more harm than good. It will put Saddam on the defensive, forcing him to actually use his WMD. Without "us" attacking him, there is no indication that he ever intended to attack "us." There is also no indication whatsoever that he has any nuclear weapons at all. If "we" DO attack Iraq, its citizens will turn to a strong man for protection, entrenching Saddam's power. If "we" attack, we will kill TEN civilians for every ONE soldier that we attack. This is the standard equation in modern wars. So do you think it is "necessary" to kill many, many civilians in order to oust one leader? 40 percent of the Gulf War veterans are disabled. That's about 161,000 people that receive disability payments from "our" government. Did you know that? Check it out:

 http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/01/17/iraq.chemical.suit/index.html

Is it "necessary" to do that again, do you think? It certainly won't be profitable to pay off all the soldiers. French and Russian oil companies have concessions on most Iraqi oil right now, and this war will change that, Dubya's bosses hope.

The corporate economy, the military and the political directorate are fused together these days, almost as one. You are right about that. They will be the only ones winning this war. EVERYONE else loses. For that matter, there is no guarantee at all that oil prices will be lower. Each gallon of gasoline costs $15 - but it is in taxes that we pay most all of it. The price can skyrocket at a cartel's whim. Do NOT count on the much-promised "low gas prices" because of Iraqi oil. It's not like oil follows many of the laws of supply and demand, like the sorporate news, and "our leaders" so often claim. We do not live in a free market society - we live under a socialism of the rich.

So is it "necessary" to create yet MORE illwill in the world against the US? This war will be a recruitment sign for the US' enemies. Was 9-11 enjoyable to you? Expect REAL terrorist attacks if the US keeps on acting like gangsters. The British Empire sure didn't last forever.