Telling it Like it Is
Today (January 18th) is the 12th anniversary of the (First) Gulf War. The New York Times reported on the tearful farewells of US sailors and soldiers headed to the Gulf region again by the thousands, in a buildup to a new war. The comments of some of these troops and officers were revealing. They seemed to fall into two categories:
* We need to make some response to
* If the war's really about oil, then so be it.
So much for the Bush "rationale" of rooting out the threat of chemical warheads.
Even the President hasn't shown any evidence linking Iraq to 9/11. Clearly he's banking on public support for a militaristic "response," though--an itch still unsatisfied by the occupation of Afghanistan.
But nor does the administration admit the real reason for war: US control of oil in the Middle East. His soldiers know better--or at least, they're being more honest. Somehow the bald-faced geopolitics of Kissinger and the think-tanks doesn't make it to the front page of the mainstream press. Leave it to the grunts to tell it like it is.
The point was made that all the protesters drove to their big anti-war demonstrations; they don't seem to be "screaming for battery-powered cars." True enough. But are they ready to go get their old-fashioned fuel by force?
To lay out one's greed (individual or collective) openly and honestly is shocking at first--then it's refreshing. There's no more smokescreen, no more beating around the er--Bush.
Reading the comments admitting the war for oil reminded me of the battle over watershed logging in my small B.C. community a few years back. We held a public meeting to air the issues, and Corky Evans, the local MLA (who had built his reputation favoring "local democracy") showed up. I sat next to him and turned red with inner rage as he calmly told us that it didn't matter what we wanted: the government had decided the trees were going to be logged. They knew best and that was that.
"F------ Fascists!" I thought to myself in the moment. But a little later I realized how refreshing it was to hear a politician lay the harsh truth on the line. Honesty was so much more direct and to the point than the usual liberal fertilizer used to mask destructive policies.
Today I'm also recalling the prophetic words of a neighbor of mine a few years before that...in another contentious meeting, about extending road access through our forested land co-op. He had a succinct comment on the whole situation: "Oil is Blood."
At the time--maybe 10, 12 years ago?--I thought Nigel's comment was silly. Then again, I was in favor of the road because it meant I'd be able to drive right to my house. Now his words are still ringing, truer than ever.
That road extension, as it turned out, was never built. The logging in our watershed proceeded as planned...until the next waves of negotiation and nonviolent action got in the way.
Meanwhile, as the troop buildup and war cries continue, I can only say--
Thanks, Nigel, Corky, and G.I. Joe...for telling it like it is.
18 January 2003