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LET'S NOT HOLD ANYONE ACCOUNTABLE!
Systemic Success: Blood Money and Black Gold in Iraq
First published in Empire Burlesque earlier today, 12 November 2009
The New York Times is shocked -- shocked! -- to find personal enrichment of American elites at the heart of the rape and gutting of Iraq. Who could possibly have ever foreseen such a scenario as the Times revealed on Thursday, describing how "influential American adviser" Peter Galbraith helped "ram through" highly controversial provisions in the constitution that the occupying force and its collaborators imposed – provisions that could put more than $100 million in Galbraith's pocket.
Of course, Galbraith's war-profiteering machinations are hardly unique; the roll call of "advisers" and officials and other insiders feasting on Iraqi corpseflesh is longer than the Mississippi, and considerably more muddy. Just this week, the Financial Times noted that another gaggle of occupation geese, "including Zalmay Khalilzad, former US ambassador to Baghdad, and Jay Garner," the first appointed satrap of the conquered land, are now cashing in on their blood-soaked connections in Iraq.
Given the fact of the rampant corruption among the murder-mongering elite, one might darkly suspect that this sudden spotlight on Galbraith could be related to the embarrassment he recently caused to the Obama administration, which ordered the UN to fire him from his special envoy post after he insisted on a full investigation of the massive fraud in the Afghan elections. (Although one can't but wonder now if Galbraith took this principled stand only after failing to cut some juicy sweetheart deal with Hamid Karzai.)
However, although the Afghan imbroglio might have played some part in the prominence accorded the revelations by the Times (A call from Rahm to the editorial offices, perhaps: "Galbraith's fair game now; let him have it"), the story itself was initially unearthed by journalists in Norway, investigating Galbraith's ties to the Norwegian oil giant, DNO. And what a sordid little saga it is. As the Times notes:
Oh, our good Gray Lady! She just can't help herself, can she? Even as the Times publishes an actually excellent story outlining vile corruption in high places, it is still fretfully anxious to assure its readers that America's intentions are always pure, always good, despite any "mistakes" or the inevitable "bad apples." Hence the reference to Iraqi "conspiracy theories" that the American invasion was about taking their oil.
Poor little primitives. Of course it wasn't just about taking their oil. As the Times' own Thomas Friedman tells us (via Arthur Silber), it was also about America's need "to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world" to assert its dominance. It was also about "the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf [which] transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein," as the elitist faction PNAC told us back in September 2000 (along with their open yearning for a "new Pearl Harbor" to "catalyze" the American people into support the militarist agenda). It was also about the hundreds of billions of dollars in government pork and outright graft that the invasion and occupation have provided to a select and powerful few. It was about our elites' profound psychological and sexual anxieties that evidently cannot be quelled without resort to violence, destruction, repression and mass death inflicted on innocent people. No, the American invasion of Iraq was about a lot of other things besides "taking their oil."
But by God, taking their oil was sure enough a great big part of it. The recent Jay Garner story has that black gold at its corroded heart as well, as the FT reports:
This kind of war profiteering goes back to the very beginnings of the illegal war of aggression -- and it goes up to the very top. For example, here's a piece I wrote way back in December 2003, about the Bush family's direct involvement in blood money.
This kind of war profiteering goes back to the very beginnings of the illegal war of aggression -- and it goes up to the very top. For example, here's a piece I wrote way back in December 2003, about the Bush family's direct involvement in blood money. In detailing the cornucopia of dodgy, dirty dealing that is Neil Bush, I noted this:
[For an update on Bush's exemplary life of elitist money-grubbing, see "The Anguish of the Overlords."]
Like Bush, Galbraith is a paradigm of how the system really works -- and how it is meant to work. Public service, private enrichment, principled stands, backroom dealing -- it's all one thing to our great and good. And behind it all is a willingness (when it is not an eagerness) to have many thousands upon thousands of people die, and many millions more suffer torment, ruin and grief, to keep the system's beneficiaries in their wonted, wadded place of power and privilege.
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on November 12, 2009.
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