by Mike Booth
Petroleum Money Changes Everything
Petroleum was discovered on the Arabian peninsula by the California Arabian Standard Oil Company in early 1938 and the Mideast plot thickened considerably. The 1938 strike turned out to be the first in what were to become the richest oil fields in the world. Oil meant money, both for oil companies and for Ibn Saud, the warlord who had proclaimed himself king of Arabia just six years earlier.
It is that Saudi windfall that has permitted us to see just how abject is the Western World’s slavish reverence for money. The Saudi regime, clearly the most retrograde in the Muslim world, has carte blanche in any Western capital, thanks exclusively to its gargantuan economic presence. Their egregious domestic human rights abuses are the least of it. What is more serious is how they sponsor Islamic terrorism so universally and so blatantly with every Western government looking bovinely the other way while giving top priority to their “defense” contracts.
This phenomenon is carried to Alice in Wonderland extremes. On September 11, 2001, when two airliners were hijacked and guided into New York’s World Trade Center towers with the loss of some 3,000 lives, it was soon determined that 17 of the 19 Islamic terrorists involved in the plot were Saudis. So what did the Bush government do? The first thing was to round up all the possible principal Saudi suspects and fly them out of the country, despite all American aviation being grounded at the time. The Saudi billionaires laughed all the way home, having suffered no detentions, no interrogations, no searches, no recriminations, no nothing. President George W. Bush had frivolously suspended the Americans’ revered due process of law as a favor to his shady Saudi chums.
George W. Bush in Wonderland
The Bush government, looking studiedly in the other direction, then began bombing Afghanistan, guessing that such a poor, backward country would be an easy mark. Fifteen years later they’re still trying to figure out where they went wrong. Once the Afghan debacle was underway and the Saudi billionaires safe at home the stalwart Americans started building a wholly specious case in the United Nations for bombing and invading Iraq, a country with a cruel dictator but a viable society, ultimately reducing the cradle of civilization that was born 10,000 years ago on the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers to scorched earth. And the end is not in sight.
I cannot believe that I am obliged to recap these senseless and cynical American acts of war—and this is just a testimonial sample–when they are all common knowledge, all in the public domain for anyone who has eyes to see. Therein lies another critical question: How many people have eyes to see, and how many prefer to look in the other direction while wallowing in abundance?
Would it be impertinent of me to ask the question: How did the Americans arrogate to themselves and their lackeys the right to burst in and eradicate sovereign countries’ industry and agriculture, their health and education systems, their rights and resources, all of their infrastructure and their very population, the people: the grandparents and grandchildren, the farmers and bakers and mechanics and nurses… What name do we give to this right the Americans have to destroy everything and to maim and kill anyone? “Manifest destiny?”
It’s Not About Partisan Politics
Nor can we assign this despicable smash-and-grab modus operandi to one or another political party. They’re all in it together. President Calvin Coolidge said in 1925, “The business of America is business.” That is to say money rules and any other consideration runs a distant second, and if it’s a humanitarian consideration that second place is lost in the distance. That was almost a century ago and nothing has changed. Despite Democratic President Obama’s compassionate posturing, didn’t he pick up Republican President Bush’s wars where that bumbling remote-control warlord left off? As for the current President Donald Trump—certainly unlettered, possibly psychotic–he certainly sounds bellicose. But we have yet to see him walk the walk, though a lot of us would rather not experience that portentous event.
This martial cross-party consensus has to be the result of one of two causes:
- Despite their divisive rhetoric both parties agree wholeheartedly that the business of America is war.
- Neither party takes these decisions on its own. Both obey orders from above. Who’s above them? Lots of super-powerful institutions are above them: the banks (including that sinister freak, the Fed), the arms lobby, the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, all-powerful government agencies, the Pentagon, big tobacco, septic think tanks, wacky end-times religious leaders… And lately we’re seeing more and more demented oil and IT billionaires “freelancing” their toxic right-wing agendas around the country and the world.
May you live in interesting times…
Americans who have not participated first hand in their government’s gratuitous wars of aggression—the vast majority–can not imagine what war means for the millions of people of those invaded, humiliated and dismantled countries. It’s simply unimaginable.
Aside from the limp justifications of “exporting democracy” and “eliminating tyrants” what are the Americans’ real reasons for treating the rest of the world like their pig farm? It’s not hard to figure out. It’s plain greed and power hunger taken to their ultimate extremes. Control the world’s energy resources and you control the world. That’s why such apparently unlikely places as Venezuela and Iran are next on the list of countries to be “liberated.”
A vital and fascinating final question arises at this point. How does the American regime sell this truculent diabolical agenda to the friendly, hospitable, homespun folks from Maine to New Mexico and from Florida to Alaska? Because those innocent citizens are ultimately responsible for this whole disastrous geo-political götterdämmerung. They elected its perpetrators and they pay the bills. But why, and how have they let themselves be led down this macabre road?
The best explanation I have found is in a 1988 book by Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman: Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, which reveals the “effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion,” by means of the propaganda model of communication. The book inspired a highly recommendable 1992 documentary film on the subject which you can watch on YouTube, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, done by the Canadian filmmakers Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick.
Read the whole story in my ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles.