By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Then came the war on terrorism. You needed a trigger for it. And there are conspiracy theorists, of which I am not one, who think the Bush people had something to do with 9/11. And I have never seen any evidence that they did, though I have been accused of saying they did. And that’s nonsense — I can’t imagine them doing anything rather so effective, in its ghastly way.
But they needed a trigger. And suddenly there it was. And they were waiting for it. I mean, we have enough statements from Bush pre-9/11 about how he wanted to invade Iraq. Presumably to make up for his father, who didn’t go all the way to Baghdad to kill Saddam Hussein.
But Bush and Cheney have other fish to fry. They are oil and gas men, and they wanted those oil reserves in Iraq — the second biggest in the world. They wanted to be well-placed in that part of the world. As soon as Cheney got to Washington, he ordered a study wanting to know how much time do we have? How much oil do we have? He was told, by 2020, pretty much, it will be over with. We will run out. It will be over. And then there’s chaos.
So now it begins to make sense. The pre-emptive wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. And now Iran, which has got great oil reserves. And that is how we got into these places. And it has proved to be a great mistake. We’re caught again in a Vietnam-like situation. And the oil hasn’t been very good to us. That’s been our game.Didn’t we face a legitimate terrorist threat from Afghanistan after September 11 that justified our intervention there?
No. Look, when you get a hit by the likes of Osama bin Laden and a gang of religious crazies, you know what you do in a civilized world? You don’t make a war. You can only have a war on an organized country. So they invented a country that was guilty. First, it was Afghanistan and then it was Iraq. Why not Denmark or Norway? They had nothing to do with it, either.
I hate to sound like Kerry, but you go through international institutions. There’s something called INTERPOL, you know, which is very effective. You go to the police when you’ve been shot, robbed, vandalized. And you send out a warrant for Osama bin Laden and you capture him. The billions we spend on intelligence! Our intelligence wasn’t that bad in the field. There were some FBI types who knew something was up — some strange Arab guys who wanted to learn to fly airplanes but not land them. I mean, that would have even made me suspicious!But these wars are hardly the first pre-emptive ones in our history.
No, they’re not. We’ve assaulted our neighbors in the past. The worst case was 1846, when we picked a war with Mexico when we wanted to steal part of their property, known as California. President Polk said we must have California, so he went to war against Mexico and ripped off California, Arizona, New Mexico and a couple of other states.
A young lieutenant in that war, fresh from West Point, Ulysses S. Grant, years later after he was the savior of the Union, said, "I have always thought that nations, like individuals, must always pay for transgressions. And I have always thought that the Civil War, the bloodiest civil war in history, was retribution for our attack on a weaker neighbor, Mexico." God help us for what we have done now in the Middle East.If we have this record of 150 years, then what is really different about the Iraqi adventure?
At first, we didn’t go beyond our boundaries of the North American continent. Until, of course, the Spanish-American War. And we ended up with Cuba, Puerto Rico and, of course, the Philippines, which made us an Asiatic power. That was a war of aggression. The Spanish empire was very weak, and we were going to help the local people, you know. We were going to give them freedom and independence. Instead, we made serfs out of the Filipinos — it’s a wonder they still speak to us for the way we killed 200,000 men, women and children.
So we’ve been down this road before. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do it again. Especially now when we have suicide bombers, when we have nuclear enemies. There were no suicide bombers in the Philippines back then. But there are now through the entire Middle East, and they want to kill us and blow up our cities.
We are all at risk, because the worst president in American history, the most ignorant, the one with the least right to be president or hold any office at all, was by his rich friends put in the White House to grab for the likes of Halliburton, et cetera, the oil and gas reserves of the 21st century.
I speak now to your audience as a ghost from the past, from the weeks before the election. Let us hope (as you read this) that things are better because of things I don’t know yet.