Sunday, October 05, 2008

Onward, Ever Onward, to the Latest Endless War

Looks like I haven't updated my blog for awhile! This is my Feb/Mar 07 Grassroots Press column:

One primary reason for the invasion of Iraq was to gain unlimited political power for the neocons. The war was intended to kick off their planned Thousand Year Reich (otherwise known as the permanent Republican majority). The neocons knew that Americans – especially the all-important Joe Sixpack Nascar Dads – love war... as long as they don’t have to fight it themselves. The best wars, from the neocon perspective, are fought against weaker enemies, which allows America to kick righteous ass without suffering too many casualties ourselves. It seemed like a brilliant plan at the time -- permanent war, permanent victory against lesser adversaries, and permanent neocon power.

Oil, of course, was also an important factor in the neocons’ decision to take us to war, but I think political power was the more important rationale. After all, the neocons’ main enemy isn’t terrorists, but liberals.

Since the neocons possess huge amounts of money, they have the resources to focus-test every element of their strategy to find out how to best market it to the American people. Obviously, in 2003 the neocons discovered that their real reasons – political power and oil – didn’t go over too well with their intended audience. Fortunately for them, they were able to play the 9-11 fear card... after all, we just never knew when Saddam was going to nuke New York City, did we? Following the simple chant of "WMD! WMD! USA! USA!" the great American mainstream, played for suckers yet again, soon found themselves embroiled in their first endless war.

Fast forward to the present, and it sure looks like the neocons don’t know squat about actually running a war. Those darned towelheads haven’t cooperated like they were supposed to – they fight back, for one thing. Despite the best efforts of the corporate press and the Republican propaganda machine, even the compliant American people are no longer supporting the war like they once did. This turn of events is unacceptable to our military-industrial rulers.

So it’s time to bring out the new strategy, which is... cut off the oil supply! (You can tell the neocons are getting desperate, since shutting off the oil will cut oil company profits, at least temporarily.) But the potential long-term benefits for the oil companies and the entire military-industrial complex are enormous. Maybe the neocon Thousand Year Reich will be possible after all (until global warming destroys the biosphere as we know it, but that’s another story).

Here’s the deal: unlike our tough ancestors, Americans of the imperial era are soft, complacent, and possessed of a lethal sense of entitlement. (No wonder we have a spoiled frat boy as president!) Bear in mind that until now, the power structure has worked to maximize corporate profits, and they have done a splendid job of this. The key has been to keep the oil and gasoline flowing. Even though gasoline prices have dropped in recent months, the long-term trend has been upward. Gas prices have gone up enough to raise oil company profits to obscene levels, but not enough to slow down the economy. The rich have never had it so good.

But unfortunately, the rabble have been getting a bit rowdy lately – not even voting correctly! -- so it’s time to crack the whip. Unlike the oil crises of the 70s, there haven’t been any actual gasoline shortages yet. When shortages finally occur, Americans will panic. Being totally dependent on our automobiles for just about everything, we will flat freak out, and will beg, nay, DEMAND that our gasoline supply be restored. We will do anything, make any devil’s bargain – including sending our children to war – if we can only get our non-negotiable lifestyle back.

Looking at it this way, war with Iran makes a lot of sense from the neocon point of view. Even if the entire Mideast is thrown into anarchy, and the Saudi oil is cut off, it will be good discipline for the rabble. There will always be plenty of oil for the military, but as for the rabble, let them walk. "Sacrifice" will become the new byword as the draft is reinstituted and taxes on the middle class are raised to pay for, shall we say, an "augmented" military. Americans will, once again, become tough and disciplined in the service of our leaders. This is all batshit swinging-from-the-chandeliers insane, of course, but that’s all we can expect from our neocons. They do have one important factor in their favor: we, the rabble, are far more helpless than we ever like to admit.

I wonder if any of this will actually happen? On a bad day it seems plausible, but on good days I wonder (without much evidence to back it up) if we are capable of the revolution we so desperately need. With real life, you never really know. Which no doubt is all for the best.

Next issue: the end of the biosphere as we once knew it. Till then, happy motoring!

(Gordon Solberg is still dechaosifying his microfarm, Submarine Ranch, located north of Radium Springs, next to (and sometimes underneath) the Rio Grande.)


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