This past weekend I was brought back from a point of despair. Despair over what appeared to be a general complacency towards the daily updates of war preparations that have been prominent in every mainstream media headline.
I was pulled back by the realization that there are a lot of people, of different political and socioeconomic backgrounds, unwilling to remain silent about the current U.S. strategy of war on Iraq. From D.C. to San Francisco, to right here in Fort Collins, it became clear that those of us who consider war the wrong answer are not alone.
Part of this may be the obvious hypocrisy inherent in the Bush administration’s treatment of North Korea, a brutal regime known to have weapons of mass destruction. Compared to the offer of talks and aid, the attack on Iraq has brought many to see that the Bush strategy has little to do with concern over weapons of mass destruction (of which the available evidence remains slim) or links to Osama bin Laden (no link) or to human rights concerns (we knew about those when he we supported Saddam’s invasion of Iran in 1980). Many are beginning to see that the official justification for war is a ruse to garner public support.
The primary motivation is not new and has to do with the need to control and protect our “vital interests” as was made clear in a 1998 letter to then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Senator Lott from a group comprised of, among others, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz (now Rumsfeld’s deputy at the Pentagon), and Armitrage (now Powell’s deputy at State). In that letter they stated: “We should establish and maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the region, and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests in the Gulf-and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from power.”
The “vital interest” is oil. That’s right, the food of our Victorian energy system whose waste material is the primary contributor to global warming.
The need to control Middle East oil is growing more critical. Recent estimates from the Department of Energy claim that by 2025, roughly two-thirds of U.S. oil may be imported. Next to Saudi Arabia, Iraq has the largest oil reserves in the world. Control of oil is the justification for what will surely be large numbers of innocent civilian deaths when fighting enters populated centers, as we are told it likely will.
Some suggest that it is na/ve to expect that anything short of war will protect us from terror launched by Saddam Hussein. However, true na/vete is evidenced by expecting a war not to further fuel the already growing hatred towards our country in that part of the world resulting in greater terrorism rather than less.
Kevin Gurney is a research associate in the Department of Atmospheric
Science and a Ph.D candidate in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology