During his recent weekly address, President Obama discussed ending the war in Afghanistan, bringing the troops home and rebuilding America. After over a decade at war in the Middle East - America’s longest war – further drawdown of troops and redirecting our attention to home base is welcome news to many of us. Afghan President Hamid Karzai joined the POTUS for talks on the partnership between our two nations and the role of U.S. troops in that country. That’s progress; social and economic advancement moves nations forward.
While it’s wonderful to see that the groundwork is being established for a more collaborative union between Afghan leaders and the American military, many of us on the home front are wondering what did we gain from all of this? Who came out ahead? Certainly not the average citizen in the U.S. – unless, of course, that citizen happens to be a multinational corporations. Remember, the average citizen is subjected to a daily barrage of news stories that remind us of how our nation’s economic future has been placed in jeopardy as the result of our debts: the price tag for carrying two wars.
But if we’re moving forward, how is it that our troops are pulling out of the region but the big oil companies remain? Was that always the objective?
As noted in Dahr Jamail’s article:
“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market,” oil industry analyst Antonia Juhasz told Al Jazeera. “But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.”
“Only a naïve child could believe the Americans came here for something besides our oil,” Ahmed Ali, an unemployed engineer, told Al Jazeera. “Nor can we believe their being here has anything to do with helping the Iraqi people.”
The political climate remains volatile in the Middle East, which means the potential for continued American involvement remains. ‘Big Oil’ and related corporations made it clear that they have a vested interest in that region, and so we shall remain – while we continue our struggle to rebuild our own nation.
For those keeping score, here’s some food for thought while you fill in your own numbers:
- Multinational oil conglomerates: ______ (Countless millions of dollars gained in addition to unfettered access to extensive natural resources);
- The American people: ______ (Lives lost, nation-building abroad as our own economy suffers under the weight of debt incurred by these wars);
- The Iraqi people: _______ (Lives lost and the threat of permanent occupation, coupled with prospective forced privatisation of their natural resources as advocated for by the Obama administration despite the wishes of their citizens to the contrary);
- The Afghanis: ______ (Lives lost and endless presence of the United States as their nation is rebuilt).
Was it worth it?
Now it’s America’s turn to move forward with an agenda that ensures its citizens won’t be pulled into near-endless wars that are nothing more than a cloak for wealthy multinationals to further their own cause at the expense of the poor and middle class who ultimately fight in those wars. It really doesn’t take much effort to see who has always stood to gain, and who – no matter which country – always loses.
Image Source: AlJazeera.com