I have strong views about the war in Iraq, but I don’t talk about them much. I was raised with the idea that you don’t talk about politics and religion, because people can get so irritated and irrational about both subjects. My experience has been this is true. So I usually wait until I get to know a person before I talk about either, and then only if I feel the person might agree with me or at least won’t immediately attack. I’m not very good at debate, and though I do have rational ideas to support my beliefs, am not always good at remembering where I got the information.
This week a friend sent a photo of a gasoline sign (which she believes she got from www.grist.org , but now we cannot find it; my apologies for not being able to give credit for it). The sign was obviously created for the photo, and with gas prices being what they are, I laughed when I saw it. (The gas prices here in Crescent City, CA are $3.55/$3.65/$3.75). Was going to write to my first born and say something like, “Sorry to tell you this, but . . . . ” Suddenly I stopped, and made a connection my friend did not intend. See, my first born has served in Iraq. And I don’t think the war in Iraq is being fought for freedom for the Iraqis, or to wipe out terrorist groups, or for most of the reasons we are being told by our government. I think the war in Iraq is continuing because of oil.
Much of the U.S. economy is built on oil — transportation, plastics, the parts in your computer, beauty products, medical products, etc. The oil industry is very powerful, perhaps the most powerful of all Big Business, and government listens to them. They make LOTS of donations to both major political parties (and possibly some of the smaller ones for all I know) and wield a lot of power. According to The Hightower Report (vol. 9, number 5, May 2007), the oil companies are very interested in all that oil in Iraq. So much so, that they’ve already gotten together to carve out spheres of influence in the Iraqi oil market. In 2004 Bush and company created secret legislation to allow Iraqi oil to be privatized so that foreign oil companies could gain control — that legislation was introduced to the Iraqi parliament in February. It would create the Federal Oil and Gas Council, taking control of the oil out of Iraqi hands and putting it into the hands of the oil companies. (The Hightower Report offers a trial offer free online, so you can read more about it there. Or, you may read an excerpt of the report at http://coppermoon.livejournal.com , Saturday, May 5, “How much time do you need?”)
I won’t debate why we began the war in Iraq, but I believe it is continuing now because of oil. In talking with military people who have returned from Iraq during the past year, those people have all said we don’t belong over there anymore. It is an Iraqi war — let them fight each other and decide how THEY want their government to run. Heck, let them have three separate nations if that is what they want! Problem is, that would make it difficult for Big Oil. They want one nation, and an end to fighting, because that makes for safer oil fields and safer American-based businesses.
So every day the U.S. military fights in Iraq, they are risking arms, legs, lives for Big Oil. (Not to mention the thousands of Iraqi people who have died or been maimed.) And that is not acceptable. But taking it farther, as long as the U.S. economy is oil-based, our standards of living are based on inexpensive access to oil. I live in a remote area, so not only are the products we use dependent on oil for their manufacture, but everything has to be trucked in. This is not just about the War in Iraq, it is about developing environmentally sound, sustainable living.
There are no easy answers. But let’s at least be honest about why people are dying in Iraq. And no, I am not willing to sacrifice anyone’s arms, legs, or lives for a tank of gas.