Soon it will be Boxing Day!
Happy Holidays to those of you in the middle of breaks from school or work, and a special shout-out to those poor unfortunate souls forced into the office on this day that should be a holiday.
One of the many great things about being home (although way down on the list behind getting to see my family, sleeping in my own bed, and the food,) is getting to sift through about three months worth of the New Yorker magazine. Most known for their undecipherable cartoons (famously mocked in a Seinfeld episode,) the New Yorker pieces together top-level commentary on politics, art, and culture, as well as publishing original short stories and poetry.
Anyways this post is a reaction to an article I read on the prevalence of conspiracy theories within the leftist establishment with regards to Iraq, and the ways in which the media tend to legitimize conspiracy theories. According to said article, there are two major conspiracy theories that point to shadowy forces of evil that have led us into Iraq for self-serving needs. One common argument is that the War in Iraq is driven by large corporations’ need for Iraq’s oil (and defense contracts.) Removing Saddam Hussein and using Iraq’s oil were always a top priority for the Bush Administration and its happy friends the energy companies. Tying the Iraq invasion to the greater War on Terror was a matter of convenience, not truth. Backers of said plot usually refers to the Secret Energy Task Force and its map of Iraq’s oil reserves, Halliburton and other’s success in securing no-bid contracts, and assertions by members of the Bush Administration that Iraq would pay for its own reconstruction with oil revenues as evidence.
The second most common argument is that the Iraq War is the fulfillment of the Project for the New American Century/Neo-Con’s grand plan for…A New American Century! In case you haven’t heard the story, a bunch of wimpy intellectuals wrote a treatise during the Clinton administration urging the reconstruction of the US Armed Forces and the preemptive removal of “threats.” The manifesto/pamphlet/acrobat file was co-signed by several Bush Administration policy bigwigs (Rummy, Wolfie,) and notably: called for the removal of Saddam Hussein, mentioned the need for a “Pearl Harbor-type,” event to push the restructuring of the American military into the force they envisioned. September 11th of course provided the “catastrophic” event the PNAC wished for. 18 months later, we have removed Saddam.
As the New Yorker rightly points out, the efforts of the Bush Administration to label the perpetrators of this attack as a “shadowy, undefined, enemy that could strike at any time,” as well as its own shadowy, undefined, behavior, have fueled the conspiracy nuts like myself. Communication skills are lacking in this presidency, a fault that runs top down. Worse, however, is the fact that this group of leaders do not seem to have a proble, doing very nasty things to other human beings. Abu Gharib and torture in Guantanamo are the two most common examples. Sure they may have thought Saddam was a bad guy, and Iraq was a mess, and Middle Easterners aren’t their problem. In fact they most certainly think that way.
The question remains, are they doing what they think is best for America as our elected leaders representing the 300 million or are they kowtowing to the whims and interests of the few? As the New Yorker article points out, however, the goals of these two groups, the military-industrial complex, and the wimpy intellectual neo-cons, often are divergent. It is foolish thus to think that they have somehow been in cahoots orchestrating the Iraq War from the safety of their think-tanks or Houston, Texas. Despite divergent interests, the Iraq War is a positive venture for both of these interest groups And as been known to happen a time or two in politics, different groups have allied and worked together in order to get something they both wanted. I don’t think the PNAC really gives a crap who gets reconstruction contracts, nor does Halliburton care about the post Cold-sWar geopolitical landscape, as opposed to say their stock price.
As for Premier George Walker Bush, what was he really thinking when he authorized the War on Iraq? We know that whatever reasons he gave in 2003 have proven to be false, or at best totally misrepresented. There are two options to explain the War, conspiracy theories or gross incompetence. Maybe that’s why people are so hyped on the idea of conspiracy: they can’t bear the fact that their government can screw up that terribly.