Operation Iraq Forever
By Manuel Valenzuela
22 May, 2007
The occupation of Iraq, still illegal and immoral by any sense of human understanding, has now run into its fourth bloody and horrific year, becoming a quagmire for America and a vast killing field for Iraqis. Indeed, for Iraqis, America’s invasion and subsequent occupation has been and will continue to be one massive war crime, an onslaught of criminality against humanity not seen since World War Two. It is they, the Iraqi people, who have undergone tremendous hardship, and it is they who will continue to suffer in horrific ways, due to the lunacy and delusions of America’s miscreant leaders. Indeed, hell on Earth has been imported into Iraq without so much as a care, concern or bother from the American people, without so much as a protest or two by the world entire.
For America and her people, on the other hand, to say that the Iraq debacle is the greatest strategic disaster in American foreign policy history is an understatement, for the implications of America’s defeat at the hands of Iraqis have only now begun to be seen, with its reverberations to be felt for years to come. What was once considered a cakewalk by an arrogant nation, basking in the glory of exceptionalism and ignorance, blinded to reality by addictions to materialism and televised charades, instead turned into an inextricable sand trap that threatens to turn a New American Century into the Last American Decade.
For unlike Vietnam, a backwater nation at the outer periphery of world affairs, where America’s defeat did not disturb the grand chess match of Cold War geostrategy or cause worldwide geopolitical earthquakes, Iraq is at the epicenter of the world, sitting atop vast oil fields, possessing two fresh water rivers in a region where water is scarce, situated in the middle of vitally strategic lands sought by rising powers and dwindling empires. A defeat in Iraq, as is already apparent, and had long since been predicted by many, would thus severely damage the interests of America, thereby altering a global balance of power where one superpower dominates the rest of the world. Inside her shores, a defeat would, similar to what happened after Vietnam, alienate her people away from further wars of conquest, thus making it harder to implement the plans for a New American Century, thus destroying the once great controlling power engendered by the New Pearl Harbor.
The occupation of Iraq has and will continue to severely cripple America, both in treasure and blood, bogging it down in a grueling guerilla war of attrition for years to come. Already the war and occupation has lasted longer than America’s involvement in World War II. Already it has cost, in only four years, over one trillion dollars. Already, America’s military is overstretched, overstressed, overburdened and overworked. So far, close to 3,500 troops have died, with up to 30,000 maimed and injured; tens of thousands of personnel have been forced to serve more than two tours of duty. The psychological costs to thousands of soldiers will never be quantified, as will the societal damage done by people returning home with different minds, different lives and altered circumstances.
Yet in spite of the apparent defeat, the apparent debacle taking place in Iraq, the American leviathan, that corporatist element within the parameters of the state, that elitist cabal embedded in predatory capitalist markets, will not allow itself or the nation to be extricated from Iraq, for the price of such a calamity would be disastrous. For the Iraq War was first and foremost a war for control of oil, that most important of natural resources, that devil’s excrement needed to run the engine called modern human civilization.
The subsequent occupation of Iraq, beyond the obvious lies of WMD, bringing democracy and freedom, ridding Iraqis of tyranny and Saddam, and fighting al-Qaeda in the “war on terror,” was built on the necessity of pacifying and controlling the Iraqi populace so that the rape and pillage of Iraq’s oil could commence. For this war has always been and will always be about black blood, that dark substance that condemns and curses all who live above it, and empowers and enriches those who extract it. He who controls the oil controls the world, after all, and he who controls the world controls humankind’s destiny.
It is the devil’s excrement that sustains modern civilization; its births Empire and makes overlords of those that control it. It is also a truism that those who seek the power of modern empire must make a deal with the devil to drink blood from its veins. It is this deal with the devil that invariably resurrects violence, destruction, suffering and the worst in human wickedness.
Empire’s Gas Station
As such, to purposefully give up such a prize as the oil fields of Iraq, along with its perfect strategic location, would be tantamount to giving up on a burgeoning empire, something the elite and the corporatists of the nation are not yet ready to do. Controlling the oil markets of the world, along with the spigots, pipelines and oil fields of Iraq, dictating supply and demand to the globe, possessing the power to control the amount of oil a rival or rising superpower is allowed to have, and establishing a beachhead for further attempts at acquiring yet more oil and gas, this time in Iran and Central Asia, is too tempting a proposition for America’s elite to extricate their armies from Mesopotamia. In truth, to leave Iraq would be to leave behind all delusions of a New American Century. It would be akin to declaring defeat to Russia and China, in essence granting these rising powers Iraq’s oil fields on a silver platter and cementing the precipitous fall of the American Empire itself.
Iraq is too valuable, in the minds of America’s elite and her corporatists, to simply walk away from. For all intents and purposes, therefore, Iraq has become America’s 51st state, a colony that will act as America’s gas station for decades to come. Iraq is destined to become the grease that provides the lubrication needed to run the great American engine. It will act as America’s aircraft carrier, the easier to patrol the world’s most strategic region. In time, Iraq will be used to invade, threaten, hold hostage and/or conquer the oil fields of Iran and those of the central Asian basin. From Iraq America’s new national security infrastructure, such as pipelines and refineries, can best be defended from any barbarian horde. Iraq is today the gateway towards attaining the Empire the elite and the delusional have always envisioned. It is the gateway towards power, control and untold wealth.
Of course the sacrifice of American treasure and blood is and will continue to be of no significance to those possessing the delusional blueprints of a New American Century. After all, it is not their children sent off to war, becoming cannon fodder, returning in a body bag, with missing appendages, burned bodies or psychologically maimed minds. It is not their wages being taxed in order to pay for the ever-expanding corporatist army. It is not their hard earned money being expropriated so that energy giants can further enrich themselves to the tune of tens of billions of dollars in profits every year.
To the elite way of thinking, the sacrifice of 3,500 dead soldiers, most poor and working class, from rural cesspools or urban jungles, is a minor and inconsequential inconvenience, along with the injury of 30,000 more, in the pursuit of Empire. These brave and oftentimes naïve and brainwashed soldiers are simply the expendable tools of wealth accumulation and empire building, the robots needed to pull the levers and push the buttons of the vast arsenal of killing machines developed by the military industrial complex. They are cannon fodder used not for defending freedom and democracy, but for defending the corporate bottom line and its shareholder wealth. In a nation of 300 million people, the death in Iraq of 3,500 soldiers, or 30,000 for that matter is of little importance to the elite who see poor men and women as a means to an end. They are the collateral damage sacrificed in the name of predatory and debauched capitalism. They are the catalysts for corporatism to thrive.
Sadly, America will remain in Iraq for decades to come, occupying sand and dune, living behind massive concrete walls, inside enormous embassies and bases, all built to protect the ultimate prize of the 21st century: oil. Iraq is now a giant American forward operating base, a geostrategic prize from where the delusional elite can amplify their presence both in the Middle East and the Caspian basin. From Iraq the oil and natural gas fields of Iran are but a stone’s throw away. From Iraq and Afghanistan Central Asia becomes easier to threaten and control, easier for its energy resources to be exploited and defended against potential adversaries. From Iraq it is easier for the rising empire to contain, control and check the advancements of Russia, China and India.
The future death of thousands of American soldiers, and the maiming of tens of thousands more, is a reality that will inevitably come in the years ahead, will be but the price of doing business, of maximizing profit and power, of controlling the black blood necessary for empire to rise and breathe. Thousands dead and tens of thousands maimed is of little consequence or importance to those whose vision of delusion includes an empire greeted by the world as liberator, with flowers and candy thrown at its feet. Sacrifices need to be made for the sake of consumerism and materialism, for gluttony and greed, after all. Just not for the elite that steer the American ship. The trillions of dollars that have already been spent, and those trillions that will invariably be needed in the future will of course be taken from the American people, their treasure pillaged, their wages raped in the pursuit of empire. It will be us, the common peasant, that will be forced to absorb the present and future costs of delusions of grandeur and self-aggrandizing hubris. It will be our children who will have to sacrifice freedom, rights and blood.
The added benefit to the elite of this robbery of the American taxpayer is that for every dollar that goes to the Iraq War, to the military-industrial complex, to the bank accounts of the war profiteers and the energy corporatists, one less dollar is allocated for social services, education, healthcare, infrastructure and the general welfare of the American people. One more dollar taken out through taxes equals one less dollar in the pocket of the people, thereby eviscerating the middle class and shifting the burden of war from the wealthy to the middle and working classes. By gutting the middle class, by putting severe pressure on its ability to subsist on already diminishing wages, the elite further separate themselves from the rest of us, increasing the wealth gap, and by consequence, increasing their power and control over us as well. When the rich get richer and the poor poorer, only a nation of fools fails to see who wins and who loses.
As such, the Iraq War is also a war against the American people, for it is designed to make us anemic creatures dependent on the decisions of the elite. It is engineered in part to increase injustice, inequality, exploitation and dominion over us, robbing us of our power to mobilize and seek change. By redistributing America’s treasure away from the people and to the few elite and the corporations, using war as pretext and fear as a conditioning element, government is being rewired to stop acting in the interest of the masses.
Meanwhile, it is being made to serve the interests of the corporate world, which have been getting enormously powerful through the looting of our treasure, under the rubric of fighting the fictional war on terror and under the illusion of destroying a nation only to later rebuild it. The shifting of resources away from what helps the people to what empowers the corporate world is but one more sign that the age of American corporatism is upon us.
The belief that the Iraq War will end once the Bush administration leaves office, and that American soldiers will return home, is an illusion and a mirage, a concoction of wishful thinking that has no basis in reality. America has cemented its presence, firmly planting the foundations for a long and prolonged occupation. Permanent military bases have been erected, as has the largest embassy the world has ever seen. It has manipulated elections so that its puppets are elevated to the highest echelons of Iraqi power. It has written oil laws favorable to its interests that it then demands be passed by so called sovereign Iraqi lawmakers, in essence writing the same laws it needs to make legal the exploitation and robbery of Iraq’s oil fields.
The Middle East is the most vital region in the world in terms of energy allocation and its subsequent strategic control, and is therefore of tremendous national importance to a nation desiring to elevate itself to full-fledged empire status. It has controlled the region for decades now, either by military force, destruction of democracy and through its large cadre of puppets, and by occupying Iraq with a large military force, it now possesses a stranglehold on the world’s second largest energy reserves. And, by making colonies of Afghanistan and Iraq, by supporting the tyrants of Central Asia, it now surrounds the third largest oil reserves in the world, namely those of Iran. Its rich oil and gas fields, now targeted for conquest, are located just across the Iraq border, within invading distance for American forces, far away from Tehran, close enough to smell the fumes.
Iraq, therefore, is a prize that will never be relinquished, and is the reason America will never extricate herself from the debacle it has created. No amount of pre-invasion ignorance, occupying incompetence and blinding arrogance will force America to abandon her cherished possession. No continued bleeding through a thousand cuts will force it to return home in defeat. To the architects of empire, there is more than enough cannon fodder, more than enough treasure from which to maintain control of Iraq’s oil fields. There is too much invested already, too much left to gain, too many fragile egos to appease, too many insecure men to protect, to simply abandon a prize that has been cherished by the elite for decades.
We are in Iraq, and though broken by our hands, though destroyed by our military, she is now ours, for our greed and our love of comfort and consumerism demands that she be pillaged of her oil and raped of her sovereignty. Our addiction to her black blood demands that we care nothing for the plight of her people or for the decimation of her society. It demands that we cast a blind eye to the holocaust now taking place there and the ethnic cleansing destroying families and neighborhoods.
It demands that we see Iraqis as subhuman brown skinned aliens, their plight and suffering ignored, their decimation at the hands of our military and our government lost in hollow memory banks. It is because of oil, after all, that we can share in the privileges of living in the wealthiest nation the world has ever known. And so to continue living in comfort and consumerism, the beast must be fed, it must gorge upon the dark liquid of the third world, and the deal with the devil must, invariably, continue well into the future.
As such, no matter which member of the political duopoly is in the White House, no matter how loudly the citizenry demands a pullout, the United States will not leave Iraq in the foreseeable future. The two headed hydra is, after all, attached to the same body, obeying the same master. No amount of lies or spin or promises will alter this reality. We live in the New American Century, after all, where reality is the domain of those in power. As the will of the people no longer matters or counts, our voices will be silenced, our growing anger suppressed. Sure the illusion of troops returning home will be created, with scenes of families reuniting and hero’s coming home gracing the airwaves, yet in the real world, back in the land of permanent bases and rich oil fields, back where enormous and modern embassies rise on the banks of ancient rivers, tens of thousands of troops will remain, guarding America’s ultimate prize, the blood that sustains Empire, comfort and the military-industrial-energy complex.
The mirage of American troops returning from Iraq with their heads held high, as always marching triumphantly, as always having defeated evil, will captivate millions of ignorant but otherwise well-intentioned Americans. To millions more, however, this charade will be seen for the fiction that it is, for Iraq will remain a very dangerous place, especially for energy exploiters and oil conglomerates eager to further enrich themselves by pillaging a nation blind. Tens of thousands of American soldiers will remain, we will be told, to secure democracy and freedom for the Iraqi people, to ensure security in the cities, to make sure the “democratically” elected puppet is protected from al-Qaeda. We will be made to think our soldiers need to remain to protect Iraqis from themselves.
In truth, tens of thousands of soldiers will establish a permanent presence in Iraq because the Anglo-American energy consortium will need protection while it pillages and rapes Iraq of her natural resources. America’s military will be needed to defend from the targeted sabotage and rebellion of freedom fighters, from the expected assassinations and kidnappings of energy workers. It will ask to protect pipelines, oil fields and their infrastructure; it will be told to suppress strikes and the rage of Iraqi oil workers. The safety and freedom of Iraqis will mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of greed and gluttony and American empire. To the empire, oil trumps blood just as much as profit trumps people.
Of course to hear the Iraq War apologists tell it, and there are many of these individuals in government and the corporatist media, America is in Iraq because we are fighting al-Qaeda, and nobody else. To the dwindling delusionists and supporters of this illegal war who are somehow inexplicably still given a voice in the media and in print, the illusion must be made that America is at war, given this war on terror, with the dreaded bogeymen from al-Qaeda, those same evildoers who attacked us on 9/11. This is the only way to keep the charade going in the minds of millions that America must remain in Iraq, staying the course, as always knowing that the deeply embedded myth of America being the epitome of good and always triumphing over evil, epitomized by whatever convenient scapegoat is needed, will again capture the minds of the naïve and gullible.
This fantasy, of course, is the last refuge of scoundrels, for it has been proven over and over again that only two to five percent of fighters in Iraq are foreign. But this does not preclude scoundrels from preaching lies to the congregation nonetheless. A convenient enemy is needed to validate the Iraq occupation, however, one that has already been conditioned into the American mind as being nefarious and monstrous.
Indeed, what America confronts is guerilla warfare in an urban setting. Her soldiers, sent to protect the interests of the elite and those of the military-industrial-energy complex, are engaged in a battle against freedom fighters, the vast majority from Iraq, most common peasants once living ordinary lives who want nothing more than to rid their land of the occupying forces. From the beginning of time resistance fighters have waged war against the more powerful invading and occupying force, as always using their skills and talents to bleed their rivals to death.
Like American Revolutionaries, Iraq’s freedom fighters fight for independence and freedom, for nationality and to expel foreign forces from their country. If America or any other nation were invaded and occupied, resistance fighters would immediately spring up as well, forming an army of brave patriots using the tactics of the poor to try and contain the weapons of the much more powerful and wealthier military. Unfortunately, it is the poor of both countries waging war against each other, killing and maiming one another, for the benefit of the wealthy and powerful. Such is war that the poor are always made to fight each other when it is the elite that is their common enemy.
Yet the truth of who and what America’s army is fighting can never be mentioned, for a myth has been embedded into the average American mind that America is in Iraq to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq, not to fight their freedom fighters or rape their women. Since an occupying power cannot fully dehumanize a legitimate resistance movement, given that its cause is nobler than that of the occupying force itself, it must resort to the realm of fiction and propaganda, concocting lies and distortions to smear the resistance. Only by making freedom fighters seem subhuman or evil in the eyes of its people can the occupying force thereby make it acceptable to mass murder, dehumanize, torture and illegally detain Iraqis.
Indeed, resistance movements such as those fighting the American military in Iraq are allowed under international law. When such an invasion and subsequent occupation has been proven to be based on lies and deceit, becoming immoral and illegal, a crime against humanity, any resistance movement would find broad support among the peoples of the world. Indeed, these movements are romanticized and applauded, for they become brave patriots and freedom fighters against criminality, illegality and immorality. Such was the case with the French resistance against the Nazis, the Jewish resistance in the ghettos, the plight of blacks in apartheid South Africa and the struggle of Palestinians against the oppressive and apartheid methods of the Israelis.
As such, in order to marginalize and vilify the resistance, in order for the American populace to accept wanton destruction and killing, in order to transform individuals fighting for independence and for an end to occupation, the impression must be made by the creators of reality that the Iraqi mujahedeen are really al-Qaeda in Iraq, thereby becoming the central myth of why America is in Iraq and why it must continue to remain there.
This way, the dreaded evildoer extraordinaire, that entity that continuously haunts the American mind, that bogeyman that in the original conspiracy theory was said to have brought down World Trade Center towers 1,2 and 7 through controlled demolitions and at freefall speed, killing 3,000 innocent Americans in the process, can continue to spread fear and insecurity in the belief structure of millions of Americans who, like Pavlovian dogs, cower in fear at the sound of the word al-Qaeda. It is al-Qaeda, after all, and not Iraq freedom fighters, who attacked us on 9/11. It is al-Qaeda, after all, that planned war games on the day of 9/11 and ordered fighter planes to stand down, not Iraqi resistance fighters.
Thus, by using the concocted scapegoat of al-Qaeda, having escaped the caves and mud huts of Afghanistan, this time festering and planning to take over Iraq if we let them, and hiding the reality of whom exactly the American military is fighting in Iraq, millions of Americans readily accept the continued occupation as being beneficial to their own safety and security. For, as the scoundrels and the liars love to tell us, we are fighting them there so we do not have to fight them here. If we leave, we are told, they, being al-Qaeda, will follow us back, undoubtedly to wage holy jihad in the little towns of Indiana and Nebraska. This way, the creators of the new reality hide the true rival in Iraq while at the same time manipulating the American public into allowing the continued debacle taking place.
As long as the term al-Qaeda is used in symphony with Iraq, as long as Iraq and the so-called war on terror are similarly correlated, millions of Americans will continue to support an occupation that is illegal and immoral. As such, the Iraqi resistance movement will continue to gain strength, it will continue to engage the American military, and a war of attrition will continue to kill and maim both Americans and Iraqis. This way, a vicious cycle of violence will not cease, for Americans will continue to associate the need to wage war in Iraq, believing, albeit mistakenly, that America fights al-Qaeda in the fictional war on terror, not knowing or understanding the true nature of the rival.
With violence begetting violence, more resistance fighters will join the movement, as naturally occurs in a guerilla war against an occupation. With manipulations and lies, the American people will be made to believe that al-Qaeda in Iraq is growing more dangerous, that it is expanding, that it will indeed follow us home if we leave, that it presents a clear and present danger that must be defeated. Thus, the ingredients for the endless war the elite have dreamt about for decades, and the key to staying permanently in Iraq, have managed to rise out of one nation’s desire to be free of occupation and another’s systematically damaged and manipulated psyche, born on 9/11, that freezes in horror and loses all ability to reason and think logically at the mention of the words al-Qaeda and war on terror.
As long as the term al-Qaeda is used over the airwaves, as long as it retains its corroding effect, the American people will allow the fictional war on terror to continue. Such is the damage done by the masters of reality.
Quite conveniently, then, Iraq’s freedom fighters are morphed by the state and the corporatist media into al-Qaeda, thereby validating America’s presence and continued occupation of a nation, and a people, fighting for her freedom. The liberty and ease by which the apologists of the war grant al-Qaeda franchises throughout Iraq, indeed, wherever America seems to pick fights, without even a hint at investigation by the corporatist media, underlies the fallacy of this myth. Along with the purported death of probably 100 al-Qaeda’s number two’s, it also demonstrates the level of propaganda and manipulation the Pentagon and its lackeys fill the media, and thus our minds with.
Truth is the first casualty of war, after all. Therefore, under the auspices of fighting terrorism, America can stay and focus on the real and most important task at hand, namely the complete control, rape and pillage of Iraq’s oil fields and pipelines.
The Curse of Black Gold
And so America will continue fighting in Iraq because the state says we are fighting al-Qaeda, because it blames Iraq’s puppet government for its own incompetence and ignorance, because it says through its stenographers and talking heads that the war on terror must be fought, even if it takes decades to win, and because America is good and exceptional and she must defeat evil, just as she has always done. Along with our permanent occupation, we will continue mass murdering, torturing, dehumanizing and falsely imprisoning hundreds of thousands of Iraqis whose only crime, whose only curse, is living atop the devil’s excrement, that dark liquid waiting to be gorged on by a most greedy, ignorant and arrogant drug addict.
For when it comes to dominating that black gold called oil, easily available for conquest in various third world nations, either through puppets, market colonialism or military might, no dark skinned, non-European looking human is safe from the tentacles of modern empire, for soon subhuman you will be called, seen as primitive, as an animal, needing the “enlightened” hand of Western intervention for salvation.
When the aim of categorizing you as alien, evil and below the parameters of being human is achieved your family will be murdered, your people displaced, your life forever altered, your plight ignored. Your death will never equal that of an American or a British citizen, for you are a third worlder, a person of the southern globe, bred to be exploited and oppressed, your lands becoming the feudal estates of corporatism, your blood, sweat and tears falling only after you have slaved yourself for the north’s comfort and wealth.
The death of your son will not be counted, the rape of your daughter will be dismissed as lies, the dehumanization of your father and the torture of your brother will never see light of day, for your country has been targeted as the next petrol station that will invariably be forced to pay tribute to the purple robe of empire. Whether you live in Nigeria, Venezuela, the Caspian Sea basin or Iran, it does not matter, for you live where black gold abounds, where the drug of oil can be found. As such your lands will become toxic, your air and water filled with poison.
All the while, even as your natural resources are pillaged, your nation raped, your nation collapsing, you will never see a dime from the corporations of the empire. For poverty is your destiny, even as vast wealth lies below your feet. Subsisting on garbage, living in shacks, your national wealth stolen and embezzled, you thus realize that the black gold you were told would transform your nation has been nothing but a terrible curse you wish never existed.
Of course if you live where the devil’s excrement is bountiful you cannot help but notice the addiction of the empire, and how maddened it becomes if its fix is not satiated. You realize that death, destruction and suffering are the only realities and expectations for nations not willing to pay tribute to the empire.
Thus, if you are not careful, if you are not ready, the next knock on your door might very well be that of a most immoral and criminal addict, ready to kill you and destroy your nation for its next much needed fix. And then you will automatically become the Empire’s next enemy, its next terrorist scapegoat, becoming the evildoer chosen to strike fear in the American populace. Inevitably, your face, your people and your culture will become the poster children in the next marketing campaign and psychological war against the American citizenry, designed, as always, by fascism’s public relations experts, its army of little Goebbels.
Deal With the Devil
America cannot exorcise itself from its addiction to oil that, like a demon inside our body, possesses us day and night, demanding that we satisfy our insatiable thirst for black blood. In this deal with the devil that we long ago made, we became dependent on a natural resource that, while not plentiful inside our own shores, is readily abundant in the Middle East, Central Asia, West Africa and Venezuela.
For this reason the Middle East has become a militarized region, a vast feudal estate owned by the masters and lords of energy, protected by the Empire itself. For this reason it has become the world’s most volatile and sought after region. Inside its borders puppets and despots and proctors overlook America’s oil fields, proclaiming themselves princes, kings and presidents, as always oppressing and exploiting their people, as always overseeing the empire’s interests.
In our deal with the devil, the more we taste the more we want; the more we continue to grow the bigger we want to get. The more powerful we are the greedier and more gluttonous we become, expanding the size of everything we own, including our stomachs. Millions of us believe oil is abundant, as if it grows yearly in some global breadbasket.
Millions of us fail to understand that hundreds of thousands of human beings are killed and maimed, and tens of millions live in perpetual indigence and oftentimes are forced to confront armed conflict because of our insatiable addiction to oil. Millions of us fail to see that it is our standards of living, our greed and gluttony, that contributes to so much misery and destruction worldwide.
Yet year after year our greed compels us toward ever larger vehicles and homes, bigger toys and an exponentially growing consumption habit. Through our actions it seems that we care nothing for the planet or its inhabitants, instead filling our minds with the arrogance and apathy of a spoiled child, transforming ourselves into a most insecure schoolyard bully.
We behave as if we are entitled to what does not belong to us, in essence forcing the school’s other kids to give us their lunch money, threatening with violence those that decline or stand up for themselves.
Our greed and gluttony, our indifference and arrogance, our insistence on maintaining and even expanding our standards of living, all at the expense of the planet and its people, is the reason we invade, occupy and exploit weaker nations. It is the reason Iraq is in chaos, why Nigeria is on the verge of full rebellion, why Central Asia is full of despotic leaders and why Venezuela is vilified. It will be the reason why Russia and China will in the years ahead become rivals and enemies, why more and more people around the globe hate America and why we spend more on military equipment and weapons than the entire world put together. It is when we look in the mirror that the devil’s excrement can be seen, acting like an aura around our head, smearing our face with the darkness of wickedness and the madness of addiction.
We can continue believing the exceptionalism of America, the grandeur of her virtues, that of her leaders and her people, yet reality and truth are altogether different, presenting circumstances too uncomfortable for us to contemplate yet important enough to try and understand. We can continue living the delusion of myth and the charade of the American Dream.
We can continue being brainwashed and conditioned that our way of life is the only way of life, that the world entire must conform to this way of life, and that bogeymen hate us for said way of life. Yet to confront the evil’s done in our name by the government we elect or fail to stop, we must realize that in many ways, we are to be blamed, we are guilty in failing to act, in putting a stop to an unsustainable standard of living.
Until we realize the damage we do around the planet so that we may live in comfort, so that we may enjoy the highest standards of living humans have ever had, so that we may drive giant SUVs and live in expansive, heated and air-conditioned homes, America will remain in Iraq indefinitely, her military garrisoned inside bases clustered around oil fields, facilities and pipelines.
Until we confront the predatory capitalism that is turning America into a corporatist state and the world into a giant sweatshop Iraq and others like it will continue. Until we look ourselves in the mirror and realize that it is our failure to act and alter a doomed course, that it is our indifference to the damage our lifestyles cause Earth, we will finally grasp that it is ourselves, more than anything else, that are the reason we will remain in Iraq long into the future, for our way of life must be maintained and fed through the world’s last remaining petroleum reserves.
Until we realize our gluttony and greed, until we decide to put a stop to our addiction and arrogance, a new version of Iraq will metastasize every decade or so, popping up somewhere around the globe where black gold exists, every time new oil fields are needed to expand our economy or our comfort level, causing untold suffering and destruction in the process, resulting in resistance, conflict and a ever-growing hatred of America.
To feed itself the empire thus needs to increase its military, it thus needs to maintain over 750 bases worldwide. To feed its peoples’ ever-growing greed and gluttony, its ever expanding waistline, Iraq must remain within the empire’s violent and voracious claws, becoming a colony of imperialism, to be exploited and raped.
No amount of propaganda or brainwashing or delusion or denial can make extinct this truth. We are thus stuck in Iraq for the long term, for her resources and land is needed to sustain and maintain the America we live in. To believe the empire will ever leave voluntarily is to live in delusion and fall prey to the myths of our conditioning. We have made a deal with the devil, and now we must pay its consequences.
Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic, commentator, Internet essayist and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel now published by Authorhouse.com. His essays appear regularly at various alternative news websites from around the globe. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His next book, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on America and Humanity, a collection of his essays, will be published in early 2007.