the Ties that Bind
April 10, 2002
By Michael Shannon
satirist living or dead could do justice to the farce now
being played out by the governments of the United States and
Iraq. Any effort to create a fictional relationship as Byzantine
and parasitic as this one would be dismissed by even the most
forgiving reader as too fantastic to be taken seriously. But
this is no figment of a particularly fecund literary mind,
this is as real as it gets. Being waged for stakes that go
far beyond rabid nationalism and unbridled greed; this is
a matter of life and death.
There were two announcements today that clearly define the
underlying plot lines of this tragi-comedy. In the first,
Saddam Hussein announced that Iraq would be suspending all
shipments of oil for a period of thirty days or until Israel
ends its military actions against the Palestinian territories.
In response to this fateful decision White House spokesman
Ari Fliesher said, "It's a reminder about the need for America
to have an energy policy that is independent of such threats."
A statement that transcends duplicity and comes dangerously
close to condoning a crime of monumental proportions.
It is the fact that the individual nation most negatively
effected by the cutoff of Iraqi oil is none other than the
United States itself that is the most telling. That our leadership,
both corporate and political, has not long ago severed all
commercial ties with the regime of Saddam Hussein -- and by
failing to do so left us exposed to "such threats" -- can,
at best, be described as an inexcusable failure in judgement.
And at worst it is an act of treason.
From the moment President Bush declared that "any nation
that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be considered
a hostile regime" the battle lines were clearly in place.
Or so it seemed. Yet in the days and weeks that followed --
in spite of practically daily denunciations of the Hussein
regime as being evil incarnate -- American corporations have
been a major player in the support of Iraqi state-sponsored
terrorism. How so? By continuing to purchase upwards of 700
thousand barrels of Iraqi oil a day. (See Mr President, Tell
the Truth -- democraticunderground.com March 30, 2002 ) A
figure that with oil prices being at their current levels
computes to approximately 25 millions dollars every twenty
four hours or 9 billion dollars annually.
According to the CIA, 95% of Iraqi foreign exchange is in
the sale of oil. In other words; without the sale of oil their
net flow of dollars would dry to a trickle. And yet due to
the mendacious avarice of some of America's leading oil companies
-- Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron, Marathon, Philip et al -- the
people of the United States have to this point unknowingly
contributed nearly one third of all Iraqi income.
What does Hussein do with this money? By his own admission
he pays the families of Palestinian suicide bombers a cash
bounty -- just recently raised to twenty five thousand dollars
-- for their satanic sacrifices. A reality that led Mr Bush
to declare, " Those governments like Iraq, that reward parents
for the sacrifice of their children are guilty of soliciting
murder of the worst kind." Mr President, what say you about
a government that would permit its people to inadvertently
provide the funds for such a demonic solicitation?
And as despicable as such bounty payments are they are not
the greatest source of the fear and loathing directed at Mr
Hussein. We are told over and over again that the principal
threats lies in Iraq diverting a sizable portion of their
oil income to the production and, or, purchase of weapons
of mass destruction.
Mr President, how can you possibly reconcile the contention
that Iraq is a hostile regime while at the same time ignoring
the fact that by permitting American corporations to continue
to profit by and lend support to it is what provides it with
the financial support to exist in the first place? They are
entirely incompatible arguements. For if the former is untrue,
then you are guilty of orchestrating a malicious campaign
of misinformation that knows few equals in American history.
However, if it is true that Iraq poses a clear and present
to the peoples and interests of the United States then your
guilt is magnified ten fold by allowing them to strengthen
themselves at our peril.
Pardon my temerity sir but I feel obliged to remind you that
the Constitution of the United States is explicit in defining
treason; "shall consist only in levying war against the United
States or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and
The irony that it took an act of our enemy for us to cease
providing direct financial aid to their cause is beyond my
ability to fully express. What remains within the power of
my pen is to demand that you to live up to your own rhetoric.
"I call on all governments to do everything in their power
to stop terrorist activities, to disrupt terrorist financing."
George W Bush, in the Rose Garden of the White House, April
Mr President, I call on our government to do exactly that
for I for one can not stomach the thought that I will soon
to forced to beg the forgiveness of some grieving American
mother because it was my money which paid for the bullet that
killed her child. Can you?
Contact Mike Shannon @ firstname.lastname@example.org