September 26, 2007

Hidden Agendas Nos. 12 and 35

If you are, like your faithful correspondent (by which I mean I write what I write in good faith), possessed of a skeptical turn of mind, you probably often find yourself these days muttering imprecations concerning the current Congress, which has been in office since January, and is now entering its 9th full month in "power." Some of your sotto voce comments might take the form, "what the fu'?" This is entirely understandable. There has been no change whatsoever in the course of the war in Iraq, other than an escalation of both the cost and commitment of soldiers. Congress has now been asked for an additional $190 billion for the "global war on terror," meaning the ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a betting man would not go in heavy against Bush getting exactly what he wants.

So we have to face facts at a certain point. While the Democrats have gotten fairly proficient at throwing skeet into the air for Bush to blast out of the sky with his trusty veto-gun, it's becoming obvious that the "majority" party will only nibble around the edges of the war debate. We have seen "nonbinding" timelines, and "nonbinding" benchmarks, and troop rotation rules, and now the Biden amendment, which will advance "soft partition" as governing U.S. policy, and several other ideas which, aside from not passing or getting vetoed if they do pass, would not make much difference to Bush's policy of endless war in any case.

I'm sitting at a pine table with my feet up, my keyboard in my lap and the green trees of an American suburb visible through the window. No "insider" is calling me on the phone to give me the real story; thus, it seems unlikely that a casual observer such as myself could deduce something which is not already apparent to legislators who do this kind of thing for a living. The Democrats know that they were given a majority on a platform of ending the war. They have not ended the war, nor do they intend to end it. Reading one or two things I wrote last March, I actually thought they were going to end the thing by denying Bush any funding without a binding timetable on withdrawal. That is not the case. So the Democrats are playing a game in which they pretend to vindicate their November "mandate" by tossing up a bewildering array of proposals to "affect" the war without actually ending it in the cynical belief that no one will notice that the war is still going on; or, they hold the even more cynical view that if we don't like it, we can pound sand, because there's no one else left to vote for.

As Hardy once said to Laurel (many times, actually), "Isn't that a fine turn of events?" So moving along with this deductive analysis, which I'm starting to get into, we reach another branching point. Do the Democrats not believe the polls that an overwhelming majority of Americans want to see this war ended as soon as possible? Or, do the Democrats actually represent someone else other than the people who put them in office?

As to the polls: come on. How clear can things get? So we're left with the second point - the Democrats represent the same interests as the Republicans, but they work from the other side of the street. Thus and therefore, we have a public Iraq "debate" which is for voter consumption and mollification, and which is full of angry attacks from Mr. Mumbles, who brings in cots and catered food for one night while he makes the Republicans suffer for their intransigence, and the eye-batting derision of La Diva Pelosi, who says stuff like "this is the President's war, and he's accountable for it," then lines up another appropriations bill for the President's war, which is to say, she does his accounting for him.

So the answer is maybe simple, and was pronounced by Alan Greenspan just the other day. The one thing that can be salvaged from this fiasco is a preeminent place for American Big Oil in Iraq. That's it, game, set, match. Whoever pulls us out of Iraq now, "prematurely," forfeits our first-in-line position. How would you like to be called on the carpet by the CEO of Exxon and forced to explain that one? "We paid good money for you, Congressman," he would roar, "and this is what we get for our trouble!?" How it must haunt the dreams of our corrupt solons. We've spent close to a half trillion dollars over there, gotten 4,000 soldiers killed, destroyed everyday life for the Iraqis and gotten about 700,000 of them killed, too -- and now we're just going to leave? And then what? The Chinese, Russians and French sashay into Baghdad and cut those production agreements and lap up all that petroleum? I don't think so. So there's your inside-the-beltway conversation, the real debate - how to placate the American public while you work for the people who finance your campaigns and bankroll your think tanks (where you'll go to work after you sell your votes). You can't very well announce that the Americans dying over there are getting blown up so Exxon and Chevron won't lose their place in line. It doesn't sound much like Omaha Beach, does it? It sounds like the U.S. military is in the same mercenary position as Blackwater, and that's a lousy recruitment tool. It's better to talk about bringing freedom and democracy to the heart of the Muslim world, even if no one could possibly believe there's any chance of that now.

So we're going to be in Iraq for quite awhile, I think, because Maliki has not come across with that "hydrocarbon law" (drafted by an American lawyer), which may mean Bush will have to find someone else to head up the Iraqi sovereign government, and even with that bill, we'll need huge numbers of troops to make oil exploration and development feasible. Wild, huh? That Nader, though - what a crock he was.

No comments:

Post a Comment