Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The American Way of Empire

In an Op-Ed piece entitled, Whose Oil is It, Anyway? in the March 13, 2007 issue of the New York Times, Antonia Juahsz, commenting on the Oil Law that the Iraqi government is currently being pressured into adopting, claimed that,

“The law would transform Iraq’s oil industry from a nationalized model closed to American oil companies except for limited (although highly lucrative) marketing contracts, into a commercial industry, all-but-privatized, that is fully open to all international oil companies.

"The Iraq National Oil Company would have exclusive control of just 17 of Iraq’s 80 known oil fields, leaving two-thirds of known — and all of its as yet undiscovered — fields open to foreign control.”

This law is reminiscent of Order Number 39 promulgated by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) immediately after the invasion. The following is taken from my book entitled, America and the Mythology of Greatness: “According to Iraqi law, prior to the occupation, foreign nationals were not permitted to invest in the establishment of, or to acquire stock in an Iraqi company. The Iraq constitution also forbids the privatization of state assets. However, on September 19, 2003, Paul Bremer, the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), authorized the implementation of Order Number 39. This order ratified the privatization of 200 Iraqi companies, and decreed that foreign firms can acquire 100% ownership of Iraqi banks, mines and factories. It also permitted these foreign investors to move 100% of their profits out of the country. This wholesale abrogation of Iraqi law is clearly in violation of international law. The Hague regulations state that an occupying force must honor “unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.

“It is clear that the process of what is referred to as “reconstruction” represents the wholesale transfer of ownership of the energy and productive capacity of an entire nation into the hands of essentially American corporate interests. Privatization of Iraqi business is now occurring on a grand scale with the major benefactors being those who contributed substantially to the George W. Bush presidency. Even the school textbooks are being published in the United States. All this is being done without any measurable input from the Iraqi people. This represents a radical attempt to re-engineer an entire culture into a prototype designed to fulfill American interests and to further feed the voracious appetite of capitalism in its hunger for new markets. In reality, however, it is a strategy that has incurred considerable costs in regard to the suffering endured by the Iraqi people and the American military, that functions as a mere pawn in the game of power.”

There could not be a clearer or more succinct explanation as to underlying reason for the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. It would also explain the resistance on the part of the Administration to withdraw military forces from Iraq, especially if the Iraqi quasi-government is coerced into adopting this Oil Law in its entirety. Such a wholesale exploitation of this Iraqi resource would incur the heightened wrath of the Iraqi opposition.

Furthermore, the usefulness of tens of thousands of armed contractors (mercenaries) as protectors of this resource becomes increasingly apparent as well as the construction of permanent military facilities.

In the final analysis, the United States went to war with an essentially weak and vulnerable nation, and as a result destroyed its infrastructure, visited suffering and death upon countless numbers of Iraqis as well as American soldiers so that it could restructure the social order in such a way as to control the energy resource that drives the nation’s and the world economies and pollutes the very atmosphere of the planet on which we all depend.

No comments: