One of the rallying cries during the lead-up to the liberation of Iraq was the oft-shouted “No blood for oil!” This is a cute and snappy slogan, but it has no basis in fact. If the U. S. were really that greedy for oil, Kuwait would have become the 51st State a decade ago. Nor would it take much force to occupy Saudi Arabia. But oil did play an important part in the lead-up to the fighting in Iraq.
In 1996, a U.N. plan was implemented to feed the people of Iraq. For years Iraq was under a trade embargo as a result of invading Kuwait. The plan was informally called the “Oil for Food” program, and it allowed Iraq to sell its oil at dirt-cheap prices in exchange for humanitarian aid, mainly food and medicines. This plan ran for about seven years under the direct control of the U.N. In January of this year, the Iraqi newspaper al-Mada published a list of 270 names of people and organizations whom the newspaper found in Iraqi oil ministry documents. These were the people and organizations who took part in the Oil for Food program. Dick Morris sums up some of the people involved in a New York Post article:
The list of those receiving these bribes includes France’s former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua (who’s a leader of Chirac’s party) and Patrick Maugein, the head of the French Oil firm Soco International. France’s former U.N. ambassador, Jean-Bernard Merimee, got vouchers to sell 11 million barrels.
In Russia, the payoff chain reached right into the “office of the Russian president.” President Vladimir Putin’s Peace and Unity Party also got vouchers, as did the Soviet-era Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov and the Russian Orthodox Church. Nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky shared in the largesse.
Who were the three biggest opponents to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq? Who were the three biggest beneficiaries of the Oil for Food program? Why, in both cases these were France, Russia, and the U.N. Basically, Saddam had bought their opposition to the war with oil bribes. Oil certainly did play a part in the fighting in Iraq, but oil wasn’t the reason why the U.S. invaded. Oil was the reason behind the people crying out for the status quo. After all, they had a sweet deal going on.
If someone tells you the U.S. invaded Iraq because of oil, congratulations! You have just discovered someone who doesn’t have a clue. Feel free to give them their sign.
In April, news broke of Americans and other Coalition soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners. In one photo, soldiers grin behind a pile of naked Iraqis. Another shows a female soldier grinning and pointing to naked Iraqis. Americans and Arabs are understandably upset about this. After all, Americans value human dignity, and the Iraqis in the pictures have had this dignity robbed from them. And Arabs are upset because the photographs seem to show just how evil the satanic American crusaders have become.
I want a full investigation of those involved because I value human life and dignity. But to be honest, I’m not all that torn up by these photos. Regardless of how much is true and how much is fake, the “torture” displayed by the Coalition doesn’t hold a candle to the real torture the Iraqis endured under Saddam’s rule. On one hand we have a pile of naked people, and on the other hand we have thousands shot, starved, macheted, stung, and maimed by Saddam.
America is being blamed for this because we have standards and we clearly failed to live up to them. But Saddam didn’t have any standards, and the world seemed willing to give him a pass. If France, Russia, the U.N., and American liberals had their way, Saddam would still be in charge, and the real torture and rape rooms would still be in full swing.
Early this year, Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel introduced a bill to reinstate the military draft. “I truly believe that those who make the decision and those who support the United States going into war would feel more readily the pain that’s involved, the sacrifice that’s involved, if they thought that the fighting force would include the affluent and those who historically have avoided this great responsibility,” Rangel said.
Liar. This has nothing to do with making sure the children of the rich serve, and everything to do with forcing people to serve against their wishes.
During the Vietnam War, college campuses rocked with anti-war demonstrations. One main reason was the understandable anger of being forced to serve a cause that one did not believe in or support. Modern liberals like Rep. Rangel hope that by reinstating the military draft, they will foment the same anti-war emotions and demonstrations in which they participated during the ’60s and ’70s. These liberals care less about making sure our military is fully staffed and funded than they do about creating the same kind of anti-war demonstrations they remember from their younger, less informed days.
I cannot support this push for the draft because I can see the cynical purpose behind it. But even if the draft were proposed by conservative leaders, I would still be against it. This is one area where my libertarian feelings rise to the surface, and I agree wholeheartedly with what Robert A. Heinlein said back in 1961:
Conscription is slavery – and I don’t think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone – no matter what name it is called. We have had a draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can’t save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say: Let the damned thing go down the drain!
America will go down the drain if it cannot inspire enough citizens to put their lives on the line to defend it. Or as stated in another place:
Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.
And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.