Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

4/14/2005

What Failure?

Randall McElroy of Catallarchy complains about the "continuing failure of the anti-war left":

I just got out of an antiwar event hosted by Iraq Veterans Against the War ... As with many of the antiwar events I’ve been around, segments of the audience did not make me optimistic. The events are dominated by leftists who, while antiwar - a position I agree with - blame it on things I consider irrelevant; corporations, of course, are the main culprit.

... They have to say it was the evil corporations who drove us to war (apparently during lunch breaks, as the rest of their days are spent plotting every other real or potential evil in the world) or detailing weird conspiracy theories involving the key players but ignoring everything else.


Anyone who thinks that corporate interests are "irrelevant" to the Iraq war, or that the reasons the U.S. is currently forcibly occupying Iraq have nothing to do with those interests, either has an agenda or is delusional.

One of the main reasons this is so is that you can't draw too sharp a distinction between corporate interests and the U.S. government. The GOP is the party of big business (don't get me wrong; most Democrats aren't much better--I'm looking at you, DLC sons of bitches). Corporate America is their constituency; it is whose interests they are in government to serve. So in a sense one cannot criticize the Bush administration but not corporations.

Does anyone actually believe that it is a sheer coincidence that Iraq happens to be sitting on top of a shitload of oil? Or that U.S. companies are making a bundle war profiteering ($12 billion for Halliburton alone)? "Evil corporations" didn't plot the war "on their lunch breaks"; their associates in government did what all good businessmen do--they saw an opportunity to make money, and they took it.

There were many reasons for the Iraq war: it allowed Bush to run as a "war president"; it allowed the U.S. to gain a strategic foothold in the Middle East; it served as a demonstration to the rest of the world of American military might; it set a precedent for the U.S. to engage in "preemptive war"; etc.

But without question, one of the major reasons behind the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was a kind of reverse socialism: a giant transfer of wealth from average American citizens (via taxes used to fund the war) to the coffers of large corporations. Christopher Hitchens once mocked the "No War for Oil" slogan by claiming that the invasion could not have been motivated by profit lust, because the war would cost more than it would make. This completely ignores, of course, the fact that the money being spent was the public's, while the money being made was all private. You don't have to worry about not turning a profit if all of your outlay is on someone else's dime. Ask the owners of Major League Baseball teams who convince state legislatures to build new stadiums with taxpayer money while they keep the income generated by them.

The Iraq war--and nearly everything the Bush administration does, for that matter (with notably exceptions like the Terri Schiavo circus)--cannot be properly understood without understanding the role of corporate interests, which, far from being "irrelevant" to the issue, are positively at the center of it.

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