Saturday, January 17, 2009

TO OBAMA: in every war speech, add military & economic reality check

I posted the following to the's Citizens' Briefing Book of ideas for Obama. If you like what I have to say, go there and vote it up. If you don't, go make a better suggestion.
Congress should be required to detail in any authorization of military action or funding of on-going military action and the president should be required to cite in detail in any speech about military action the following:
Once that is discussed, people will wonder why we are even considering attacking that country, which leads to what Napoleon said wars are really all about:

"There is only one thing in this world, and that is to keep acquiring money and more money, power and more power. All the rest is meaningless."

The Bush administration and our Congress, including most Democrats, have been profoundly dishonest about this in the current Iraq War. Therefore, they should be required to enumerate the following about future military conflicts:
  • Describe the historic business interests the United States or other foreign powers have had in that country. Obviously, with Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela, that interest is oil. Oil is also less obviously but equally our interest in the Sudan, Nigeria, and a good deal of AFRICOM.
  • Describe in detail which business interests have lobbied for the military action, how much they have given to members of Congress who did and didn't vote for the action, how much money they plan to make in the invaded or intimidated country, and what percentage of their profits they pay in taxes to the United States.
In the current Iraq War, we still haven't heard details about what oil companies demanded of Cheney in his energy task force, but we do know they were pouring over maps of Iraq and lists of which countries had oil contracts there. After the invasion, Bush forced them to privatize most of their economy and is pressuring to pass a Hydrocarbon (oil) law that originally gave 88% of the oil income to oil companies, a deal other oil rich Gulf countries would never accept without a gun to their heads (which Iraq has).

While the Iraqi cabinet approved the law,the parliament figured out it was a bad deal, so the oil companies actually tried to BRIBE them with millions of dollars each to pass it--and they STILL wouldn't pass it.

  • Describe in detail what the average American will get for sacrificing our tax dollars and soldiers lives for these business interests.
In the case of Iraq, our reward from oil companies was continued demands for tax breaks & subsidies, being gouged at the pump, AND demand for more drilling rights in federal lands with no obligation to sell the oil here or even drill it in a timely manner to help prices here.

As we saw with the Wall Street crisis this fall and even more clearly with how they spent our bailout money on mergers, exorbitant executive bonuses, and lavish parties, America's financial elite are not only incompetent and morally bankrupt, but they are a threat to the economic security and safety of average Americans.

The economic pain we are feeling now is just a taste of what they have dealt out to other countries for decades, crushing their dreams of democracy and decent standard of living just to get a few more percentage points of profit.

Unfortunately, George W. Bush was not an aberration, but their greed, callousness, and incompetence lurching into plain view for all to see for the first time.

Just because they have scurried back to the shadows doesn't mean they aren't still calling the shots.

The way to start to pry their sociopathic hands from wheel of state is to demand our elected officials state publicly what the financial elite demand of them in private before another generation of Americans is further impoverished, killed in their wars, and asked to take the lives of those who stand in the way of their profits.

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