Machiavelli and Marx Debate – I

The Iraq War

October 10th, 2007 – The Initial Confrontation

Chronicled by Theosophus


“Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after the process of grotesque self- deception.” Mark Twain

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”                      Franklin Delano Roosevelt

*   *   *   *   *   *  *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

As the reader may have surmised, the widely discussed Niccolo Machiavelli/Karl Marx debate recorded here was arranged for a variety of reasons.  Although Marx formulated his unique thesis one-and-a-half centuries ago, and nearly five centuries have passed since Machiavelli penned Discourses and The Prince, the two men continue to represent the extremes of the political spectrum.

Opponents of the Bush Administration repeatedly depicted its neoconservative operatives as (usually bumbling) Machiavellians. In 2002, a year before our shock and awe offensive against Iraq, John Dilulio, former Director of the government’s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, called the Bush logicians “Mayberry Machiavellis.” In a Los Angeles Times article of October 2004, Neal Gabler observed: “Roveism begins . . . with Machiavelli’s rule of force”; and Firmin DeBrabander titled his June 2007 Counter-Punch essay “Inept Machiavellians: How the Neocons Misread Machiavelli.”  Liberal bloggers have often used the same appellation when describing neocons. Paul Labarique labelled former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld “a pupil of Machiavelli.” Bob Burnett referred to “the Machiavellian policies orchestrated by Karl Rove.” And Jay Allen reflected: “I could write for days, weeks and years about our Machiavellian foreign policy and how it has created every ill that now afflicts us.”

Conversely, from Sean Hannity, to Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, the neocons’ defenders have accused liberal critics of the Iraq War, the illegal wiretapping of Americans, and the Department of Homeland Security, of embracing Marx’s relativistic philosophy regarding good and evil, reality and truth.  “It’s difficult for liberals to see moral questions clearly,” Hannity urges, since “most of them are moral relativists” who “reject absolute standards of right and wrong.”

Coulter agrees, arguing liberals consider truth “an irrelevant category,” just “another hateful bourgeois institution.” “There is no such thing as ‘the truth’” for leftists Coulter writes. “There is only that which serves your purpose and that which doesn’t.”  “The left’s treasonous scheme” she concludes, is “to destroy America from the inside with their relentless attacks on morality and truth.”

O’Reilly goes even further, contending the left’s moral relativism has “wreaked havoc” in Europe, and “continues to act as a mirror and an echo chamber for the dark mood that has fallen over the West.”  “Our morality,” Limbaugh says in distinguishing conservatives, “emanates from our Divine Creator, whose laws are not subject to amendment, modification, or recission by man”.

Finally, anyone who has studied the writings of Machiavelli and Marx is aware their ideas have been consistently misrepresented. Under the circumstances, asking these famous/infamous theorists to debate seemed a common sense thing to do.   

Reaching accord on the debate’s format proved surprisingly easy.  The two theorists readily agreed to an initial meeting of four hours.  They further agreed that if either of them wanted a second debate it would occur within a year.  Each debater was given 30 minutes for an opening statement and allowed two 15-minute rebutals during the second hour.  Both were asked to nominate a sympathetic witness to make critical comments and pose critical questions during the third hour.  The two nominees then elected a centrist to join them in that effort.  The fourth and final hour was reserved for audience comments and questions.  Machiavelli chose a Fox News political commentator to be his congenial critic, while Marx selected the host of “Democracy Now.” The centrist they picked was a CNN political observer.

When Marx lost the coin toss, Machiavelli strode to the podium and, a Cheneyesque smirk-smile on his face and half a millennium of confidence and conviction in his voice, began to address the hushed audience.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *       

Machiavelli: “Let me thank all of you for being here.  In particular, I want to thank the American Philosophical Society for arranging the debate.  I’ve been waiting a long while for such an occasion and suffered a lot of undeserved animosity and vilification as I waited.”

“I intend to accomplish two things this evening: prove to you that your neocon leaders are faithful to my philosophy; and, more importantly, convince you that under their direction the U.S. will  win, not only  in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East.”

“If you’re honest, as I speak you’ll begin to realize I’m not merely describing individuals whom many of you regard as adversaries.  I’m also holding up a mirror and asking you to look at your own face.”

“By the time I’ve finished, again, if you’re honest,” (Machiavelli’s gaze swept the Fox News contingent seated in the second row), “you’ll understand we have a lot more in common than you’ve heretofore acknowledged, even to yourselves.”

“Now to the subject at hand.”

“My opponent has described himself as a ‘materialist;’ a ‘realist’ whose only concern is with what he calls the ‘natural necessity’ of historical conditions and events.”

“I will demonstrate Dr. Marx is nothing of the sort.  To the contrary, he’s an idealist who’s dangerously preoccupied with the unachievable world of his longing.  Marx once confessed his impractical idealism in an aphorism still popular with Leftists: ‘Philosophers have only described the world in various ways,’ he observed, ‘the point is to change it.’”

“In a review of James Burnham’s book, The Machiavellians, Paul Mattick described my own, genuinely objectivist, position succinctly.  ‘A true Machiavellian,’ he wrote, ‘separates scientific questions concerning the truth about society from moral disputes over what type of society is most desirable.’”

“Let me begin, then, by describing the real material world for you; by which I mean the world of our experience, your experience as well as my own.” 

“In the real world of our shared experience, people come together to think and act as citizens of nation-states.”

“Having done so, in the real world they create and revere iconic symbols of their nations: flags, anthems, military uniforms, sports contests, even flowers, birds and beasts.  If you can think of an exception to this universal practice, I invite you to point it out right now.”

(Silence).

“Why do people behave this way?  Again, our experience provides the answer.  Only by joining together in national communities, which they give allegiance and fight to protect, are they able to acquire physical, emotional and psychological security, find employment, build homes, feed and clothe their children, and raise them to share the values they hold dear.”

“From this it follows that the foremost objective of a nation’s leader, whether president, prime minister or prince, must be the preservation of the state upon which the lives and the well-being of his people depend.”

“Unfortunately, in the real world there are times when preserving a nation-state requires its leader to order the conquering of other territories, other nations, other peoples.”

“In other words, in the real world, war, with its attendent brutality and oppression, is sometimes imperative if a leader would succeed in defending his state.”

“Put bluntly, at times war becomes a necessity, and, to quote from my brief essay The Prince: ‘War is just when it is necessary; arms are permissible when there is no hope except in arms.’”

“History is drunk with examples:”

“Having insufficient fertile land for its growing population to own as nobles and work as peasants, 15th century Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella preserved their state by ordering the violent conquest of New World regions: Hispaniola, Jamaica, Dominica, the Bahamas, Trinidad, Panama, the Virgin Islands, Honduras, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Peru.”

“Nineteenth century England’s leaders used a combination of economic incentive and  bloody conquest to obtain the raw materials and markets needed to hold their industrializing state together.  By 1917 one-quarter of the world’s people were under British dominion.”

“Only fifty years after its revolutionary birth, a rapid growth in population made the acquisition of more land critical for the United States, particularly for the sons of small farmers.  To preserve their young nation-state, presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin van Buren thereupon authorized the expropriation of Native Americans.”

“In 1830 Congress passed The Indian Removal Act. Although the act got tied up in  court, under president Jackson’s wise direction the forcible seizure of Indian land was accelerated anyway.”

“By 1838, 16,000-20,000 Cherokees were the only large Indian community remaining in the East.  Basing his decision on a fraudulent 1835 treaty, President van Buren ordered their removal to Oklahoma.”

“Leading a militia of 7,000 men, General Winfield Scott oversaw the Cherokees’ 1,200 mile forced march to their new home.  Shoeless and starving, many of them old and ill,  four thousand Cherokees, roughly one-quarter of their number, died along the way.  Although a kind man, Jackson understood the necessity for this cruel undertaking. ‘Humanity weeps over the fate of the Indians,’ he consoled, ‘but true philanthropy reconciles the mind to the extinction of one generation for another.’”

“Ninety years later, as the international economy entered The Great Depression, being the wealthiest and most productive industrial nation, the U.S. found it could survive by outcompeting its rivals.  Japan was soon being driven from China and other Asian markets, while Germany suffered the same fate in Eastern Europe.  In the early 1930’s Germany’s economy, which had never recovered from WWI,  collapsed.”

“Ordering the stimulation of their nations’ economies with large-scale military spending, the leaders of Germany and Japan predictably chose to employ force so that their states might endure.  Japan occupied Manchuria in 1931.  In 1939 Germany invaded Poland.  Early the following year Germany conquered Norway and France, and in mid-1941 it declared war on the Soviet Union.”

“By the latter date the war in Europe was dealing a fatal blow to Japan’s economy.  In July 1941 a Japanese Cabinet Planning Board reported the war was: ‘preventing the importation of machinery from Germany and Italy, or from Switzerland through Germany or Italy, which is vitally necessary for the production of strategic materials.’ Like Germany before it, Japan was going down for the count.”

“Forced to choose between accepting a destruction of the state or fighting, Japan’s leaders undertook an accelerated preparation for war against the U.S.; the competitor whose defensive economic policies were having such a disastrous effect.  On December 7th, 1941 General Hideki Tojo and Emperor Hirohito directed the ‘infamous’ attack on Pearl Harbor.”

“Nothing I’ve said should be interpreted as a defense of Japan and Germany respecting the global conflict that ensued. To identify the material reasons for a nation’s resort to violence is very different from giving it support, just as identifying the material origins of an earthquake is different from embracing its devastation.”

“Unlike Dr. Marx, being an objectivist, I limit my analyses to explaining what’s happening and the material reasons why.”

That said, however, as I made clear in my Discourses on Livy, I believe in the greater efficacy of democracy.  Since the United States was more democratic than either Japan or Germany, if forced to take sides during WWII, I would have backed the U.S.”

“Now, to believe in democracy means believing leaders must have the backing of their populations. It has always been my position that any leader who fails to gain popular support can not long survive.”

“However, at times like those I’ve described, leaders confront a dilemma:”

“In order to protect their people they must defend the state.  To defend the state they must make war.  To make war successfully, they must have their people’s acquiescence, if  possible, their enthusiastic cooperation.”

“The problem is that making war involves slaughtering and subjugating other humans, actions which are universally considered evil.  It is to our species’ credit that the people of every nation resist seeing themselves as murderers and oppressors.”

“In order to gain sufficient popular support for, or at least submission to, those necessary evils, wartime leaders therefore inevitably find that they must lie.”

“When ordering an attack upon another nation, they must lie to defend their country’s reputation; lie to get assistance from allies; lie to delude their victims, as occurred with the Cherokees.  No less important, they must lie to soothe the collective conscience of their citizenry. Unless they lie, the forcible domination of another state, another people, cannot possibly succeed.”

“Fortunately, whenever the preservation of the state upon which their lives and fortunes depend is at stake, people universally insist upon being provided the requisite protective deceptions.”

“The Americans who settled the West during the 19th century welcomed the justifying lies told about ‘savage and bloodthirsty Indians;’ the Indians they were exterminating as they found it necessary to seize their land.”

“When the Great Depression devastated the world economy in the 1930s, most Russians embraced Stalin’s fantastic lies about the country’s ‘pro-capitalist traitors’; lies which vindicated holding the Soviet state together by killing 7 to 10 million people and enslaving an even greater number of others.”

“During WWII, only a tiny, and pragmatically silent, minority of Germans rejected Hitler’s utilitarian lie that they were fighting ‘a Jewish-Communist conspiracy to take over the world.’”

“To give a final, and, for most of you a more personal, example: Throughout the 90-years since the Russian Revolution, most Americans have reflexively imbibed the remarkable story that the Soviet Union, and subsequently China, posed ‘a socialist-communist threat’ to their way of life; a lie no less preposterous than that told by the Spanish inquisitionists who tortured Jews in the name of Christ.”

“At the time Dr. Marx was writing everyone, including his detractors, understood Socialism to mean an equalization of basic income, Communism the more tender-hearted –‘to-each-according-to-his-need’ division of a nation’s wealth.”

“As our common experience loudly tells us, where apportioning their nations’ wealth is concerned neither Russia, nor China has ever been one whit more socialist, let alone communist, than any other country, including the United States.”

“Surely the international correspondents among you have felt the irony of filing reports in which you referred to ‘Communist China;’ a country which Forbes notes now has 10 billionaires, 400 businessmen with personal wealth exceeding $100 million, and many thousands of mere millionaires; while an army of indigent Chinese roams the streets of major cities, homeless and hungry.”

“On the other hand, it’s equally obvious that the incessant lies about a ‘communist menace’ were critical for rationalizing a military defense of threatened U.S. industries and investments in Asia, Africa, Central and South America, thereby securing the United States and stabilizing its people lives.  Which, of course, is why all but a few Americans embraced the artifice involved.”

“While it’s frequently essential that political leaders lie to others, as my student, philosopher Leo Strauss, observed, particularly in wartime, it’s no less crucial that they do not begin to deceive themselves.”

“A wartime leader must remain focused on the exclusive objective and associated truth for which he is directing mayhem and telling his lies.”

“Political leaders, like the rest of us, always lie in the service of what are for them more fundamental realities and objectives.”

When a terminally ill friend inquires How do I look today?’ and you reply: ‘You’re looking very healthy!’, you lie to mask your personal truth and objective that, although he looks terrible and probably doesn’t have long to live, you want him to feel hopeful, and it would therefore be cruel to tell him how sick he really appears.”

“The wartime political leader’s objective which he lies to defend?  I’ve already told you: A preservation of his state!  His associated truth?  That objective material understanding which, if  he can get his people to act upon it through deception, will result in the state’s preservation.”

“Whenever evil must be done to preserve the state, an unspoken agreement is made between a leader and his people.  He will lie to procure their support; which requires protecting them from assuming responsibility for the evil.”

“On their parts, the people will either accept the leader’s lies as fact, or, in the case of  individuals who are less well served by the state’s evil acts, they will busy themselves with nitpicking demonstrations that particular lies are falacious.”

However, so long as the state, and therefore their lives and livelihoods, are being preserved, our shared experience tells us they will refrain from seeking the material reasons for the evil being done. That is, they will not attempt to discover and disclose, the leader’s personal truth; the unique objective vision which is determining his actions and prompting him to deceive.”

“Perhaps the most compelling evidence that the people of every nation prefer comforting fiction to disturbing truth is the universal reluctance to relinquish what were initially pragmatic lies long after their utility has been exhausted.”

“The majority of Japanese have yet to confront the brutality of their country’s attack on Nanking in December 1937. Two-hundred-thousand Chinese were killed, many machine-gunned in the street.  Women were ‘nailed alive’ to walls, their breasts cut off and their stomachs ripped open.  Japanese Doctor Hakudo Nagatomi told of witnessing babies being ‘impaled on bayonets and tossed alive into pots of boiling water.’”

“Turkey still adamantly refuses to acknowledge that after its Ottoman Empire holdings were lost in WWI, it maintained itself by massacring one and a half million Armenians, seizing their properties in order to survive.”

“Very few Russians have accepted the breathtaking slaughter of Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Estonians and Latvians which the Soviet Union carried out to preserve its existence during the depression-ridden 1930s and 40s.”

“Thirty-two years after the Vietnam War ended, most Americans continue to avoid the simple reality that their nation pragmatically defined poor, ignorant and uneducated Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian peasants as ‘communists,’ then butchered over three million of them, using every weapon at its disposal, rifles, bombs, napalm, cluster bombs, 50-caliber machine guns and grenades.”

But is it really necessary for me to defend this obvious point?  Robert Stinnett’s book, Day of Deceit, was published in 2000. Using the U.S. government’s official records, Stinnett documented what Admiral Robert Theobald, Pulitzer Prize winning author John Toland and others had convincingly argued two decades before.  President Roosevelt and members of his cabinet not only knew Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was impending, they worked to insure that it happened, convinced it would unify the public behind what they rightly considered an inevitable war.  Yet today the majority of Americans continue to talk of Japan’s ‘surprise attack,‘ dismissing as ‘conspiracy kooks,’ those who express the material truth.”

(Machiavelli paused, then observed:)

“It’s clear from your facial expressions that many of you find my arguments distasteful.”

“One of the most painful criticisms I’ve had to endure is that I advocate immorality and evil.”

“To the contrary, I’ve always insisted the practice of evil should be no greater in dimension and duration than a preservation of the state requires.  Lying, killing and related evils are for me strictly means, never ends. Unfortunately, they are sometimes the only means by which  the state’s perpetuation and its’ people’s lives can be secured.”

“In the hope that you won’t misunderstand my position, let me be precise:  If a conquered elite’s hegemonic way of life can be continued, that should always be done, and they will thereafter reward the conquerors by helping to keep the masses subdued.  If the elites’ favored status can not be sustained, one and all of them must be killed, for they will never cease plotting a violent restitution of their former authority and rank.”

“If a subjugated population’s way of life can be sustained, the velvet glove should always be used in their governance, since they will present no tangible threat.  If their way of life can not be maintained, they must either be destroyed or driven from the region, because it will not be possible to control them.”

(Machiavelli paused again.)

“Do you still find my words disturbing?  Then ask yourself this question: Should the state be dismantled and its citizenry allowed to suffer socio-economic devastation if the alternative is employing violence and deceit?  If you answer ‘yes,’ please take another look at the real world. You’ll discover when people make that argument they almost always have some other state in mind, rather than their own.”

“To repeat the central tenets of my thesis: Preserving the state upon which his people depend for their physical, economic and social existence must be a leader’s foremost objective.”

“Realizing that objective sometimes necessitates making war on another nation.”

“For all the reasons I’ve enumerated, getting his people to support a war invariably requires a leader to dissemble and deceive.”

“That said, there are two more things a leader must do at such pivotal moments if he would succeed in defending his state.” 

“Based upon a clear-headed understanding of the material necessity for initiating a war and the war’s specific objectives, the leader must formulate a strategic plan.”

“Having done so, he must then micromanage events in order to bring his plan to fruition.”

“What makes a micromanaged strategy vital whenever a leader takes his state from peace to war?  This is another question you can give an objective material answer if you examine your own behavior.”

“Your family has no need for a micromanaged plan when following its normal routine.  However, any sharp break with that routine, such as a camping trip, immediately makes it essential.”

“You will need to plan your destination, date of departure, method of travel and length of stay; and numerous aspects of the trip will have to be micromanaged in order for it to be a success.”

“If you determine to go by car, someone must assess its’ mechanical condition. You will have to decide who’s going to do the driving; the approximate amount of fuel and food needed; who will prepare the food; the kind and quantity of clothing required; along with responsibility for a host of other matters, like tents, bicycles, fishing licenses and equip-ment, perhaps arranging for friends or relatives to be visited along the way.”

“So it is when a state’s leader determines to take his people to war.  Except that, where lies aren’t normally required for a camping trip, as the genuinely candid among you are well aware, they’re an integral feature of  every nation’s resort to war.”

“Which brings us, finally, to the U.S. war in Iraq.”

“I’ll begin this part of my discussion by asking the critical material question that has, to date, received a hundred-and-one immaterial answers:  ‘Why did Vice President Dick Cheney and the other neo-con leaders’ decide to invade Iraq?’”

“In order to give an objective, answer to this question, we must consider both the United States’ material condition at the time, and the material situation in which it found itself.”

“First, the U.S.’ material condition subsequent to World War II:”

“Faced with brutal competition from Japan and other industrialized nations which enjoyed significantly lower labor costs, by the late 1960’s major U.S. corporations were in serious trouble.”

“The two leading auto manufacturers initially tried to weather the challenge by cybernating production, then, by making cars of low cost and, consequently, low quality.  In 1971 Ford Motors introduced the Pinto, General Motors the Chevy Vega.”

“But GM and Ford were soon made to understand that producing cars of inferior quality would not enable them to hang on very long.”

“How bad were the Pinto and the Vega? In April 2000, the internet website Car Talk, used newspaper and radio polls to determine which auto Americans considered the ‘Worst car of the millennium.’ Based on 25,000 responses received, Car Talk rated the Pinto ‘Third Worst,’ the Vega ‘Second Worst.’ Only the Yugo beat them out to take ‘First Place.’”

“With no alternative remaining if they wished to stay competitive, General Motors and Ford then began outsourcing large parts of their manufacturing operations to low wage countries.”

“U.S. manufacturers of nearly every product, power tools, furniture, canned food, skis, clothing, radios and TVs, were soon reluctantly taking the same path.”

“Dr. Marx and his disciples would have us believe capitalists are driven by an insatiable lust for increased profit.”

“Business economists, on the other hand, consider it axiomatic that corporations hesitate to move their operations abroad until the rising tide of competition is threatening to drown them.  The activities of General Motors, Ford, Levi’s Jeans, DeWalt and Milwaukee Power Tools, Thomas McCann Shoes, IBM, Dell Computers, Hershey’s Chocolate and hundreds of other companies have objectively verified that proposition.”

“While the outsourcing of manufacture meant millions of American workers were losing their jobs, a consequent devastation of the U.S. economy was prevented by the high technology revolution which occurred during the 1980s and 90s.  The birth of the internet and an on-line global market, along with the application of digitalized information to everything from experimental science, to education, medicine, audio communication and movie-making, quite literally saved the day.”

“Dozens of high-tech companies sprung into existence.  Lavishly funded by venture capitalists, many were soon included in  Fortune 500’s list of most profitable corporations.”

“The computer-savvy entrepreneurs who founded the high tech industries often became multi-millionaires almost overnight, as did investors in their novel operations.”

“In the late 1990s, the high tech revolution gave birth to the dot-com phenomenon: thousands of internet web sites offering products and advice of every imaginable kind, health, charity, the environment, pets, politics, education, finance, jewelry, travel, book publishing, furniture making and home restoration, etc.”

“Venture capitalists and investors again provided hundreds-of-billions of dollars for these remarkable operations; and, again, sudden fortunes were made.”

“The rising dot-com sea was soon lifting millions of low-tech boats, creating new jobs and expanding old ones. Stock values in general increased significantly, as the newly rich and the comfortable purchased an ever-increasing number and quantity of goods and services.”

“Fitness centers opened in towns and cities across the country.  Occupations like ‘personal trainer,’ ‘landscape artist,’ ‘interior decorator,’ ‘massage therapist’ and ‘herbal medicine specialist’ acquired new respect and wider application.  Bike shops and boat yards, manufacturers, sellers and repairmen of ATVs and trailers, restaurants, coffee shops and jewelery stores, travel agents and luxury-liner operators, orthodontists and cosmetic dentists, mini-storage owners, makers and installers of pools, spas and home theaters, one and all profitted from the surge of wealth.  In large cities, three, four and five thousand square feet homes became common place.”

“For most Americans, life was good.”

“Then, in the spring of 2000, the dot-com bubble began to burst.  By July 2002 more than 850 dot-com companies had gone under, rendering their stocks virtually worthless.  When the calamity ended, the stock market losses amounted to an estimated seven trillion dollars, probably more.”

“You heard me correctly. Not seven million dollars.  Not seven billion.  Seven trillion!”

“While most of the failed dot-com corporations were American, some were European, and there was considerable French, German, Swiss, etc. investment in the U.S. dot-coms. So, those countries also felt the blow, resulting in increased economic competition between Europe and the U.S..”

“But I’ve only begun to describe the United States’ troubled situation as the 21st century opened.”

“With the collapse of the dot-coms, the growth rate of the U.S. economy plummeted from 3.7% in 2,000 to 0.8% in 2001.  In 2002, it was still a modest 1.6%.”

“Meanwhile, the annual growth rate of China’s industrializing economy had risen from 8.3% in 2001 to 9.1% in 2002.  India’s economy was also growing at a rate more than double that of the U.S.:  4.1% in 2001, 4.2% in 2002.”

“Although a phenomenal increase in trade between the U.S., China and India was making the three nations’ economies increasingly interdependent, China and India were beginning to  pose a challenge to the U.S. in many countries; including, in China’s case, those of the Middle East.”

“Which brings me to the United States’ paramount concern in that region; the concern which led it to attack and occupy Iraq, and which, if your country’s leaders continue to act defensively, may lead it to saturation bomb numerous targets in Iran.”

That paramount concern?  You know as well as I do: “OIL!”

“In case you haven’t noticed, the economy of every industrialized nation floats on oil.”

“A majority of the things industrial countries make, use, or sell, are at least partially made from oil derivatives: tooth brushes, soaps and soap dishes, clothing, telephones, furniture, fertilizers, cosmetics, lacquers, television cases and park benches.”

“Homes are heated with it, and cars, trains, ships and planes are wholly dependent upon its availability at a moderate price.”

“The pool of oil-guzzling industrial nations is also growing, and the two most competitive industrializing countries, India and China, are huge and hungry.”

“‘China’s exports soared from $10 billion in 1978 to $278 billion in 2000,’ taking it from the 30th to the ‘sixth largest trading nation in the world.’ With a GDP growth rate that’s sometimes double digit, its thirst for oil is becoming unquenchable. Yet, except for Da Qing, which produces an estimated one million barrels a day, China has no reserves worth consideration.”

“China’s consumption of oil is growing by 7 percent a year.  In the year 2003-04 it shot up 19 percent, and, given the country’s phenomenal growth rate, it may well increase by double digits again.  India’s oil consumption is also increasing by more than 5 percent every year.”

“As you may know, the United States’ per day consumption of oil is 20.7 million barrels; more than Germany, France, Japan, India and China’s combined 19.5 million barrels.”

“The U.S. consumes 26 percent of the world’s oil production, three times more than it produces. And, like China’s, the rate of its oil consumption and importation continues to grow.  During the 1980s the U.S. imported 30 percent of its oil.  Today it imports 70 percent.”

“Unfortunately, while the international competition for oil is becoming daily more aggressive, the amount of oil that’s readily available—we’re still talking material reality here—is in serious decline.”

“There’s been a lot of debate about whether the world’s approaching, is at, or has already passed ‘Peak Oil:’ that critical stage at which half of the easily obtainable oil has been tapped and production begins to decline.”

“Back in 1956, Shell geologist Dr. M. King Hubbert was criticized for predicting peak oil production in the U.S. would occur sometime between 1965 and 1970.  It happened in 1970.  Hubbert’s predicted peak for world production was 2006.”

“No one disputes Hubbert’s fundamental thesis about an impending peak oil crisis any longer.  It’s a matter of quibbling over the specifics of when.”

“Paul Appleby, British Petroleum’s chief economist, believes the world’s oil output will flatten, then, ‘start falling by 2010.’”

“Fredrik Robelius of Sweden, who wrote a doctoral thesis on the subject, thinks world-wide peak oil production will occur between 2008 and 2018.”

“Other, equally informed, observers insist peak oil has already happened.”

“Jim Buckee, who earned a doctorate in astrophysics at Oxford University and now heads the Canadian oil and natural gas company, Talisman Energy, came to that conclusion.”

“After researching the subject, so did oilman T. Boone Pickens, the famous investment tycoon.”

“Princeton Professor Emeritus Dr. Kenneth Deffeyes is very specific, proposing the peak in world oil production occurred on Thanksgiving Day, 2005.”

“The point is, most oil men and scientists agree that while the world isn’t about to run out of oil, it is about to run low; the peak in worldwide production definitely happening before 2020, in all probability before 2015.”

“No less alarming, the impending crisis in oil production has already begun to strike the world’s leading producer, Saudi Arabia.”

“University of California Professor Stuart Staniford, who edits the highly regarded website The Oil Drum, observes: ‘The data is clear . . . Saudi Arabian oil production is in decline.’”

“Already, half the daily output of Ghawar, the world’s largest oil field and Saudi Arabia’s most productive–from which 6.25 per-cent of the world’s oil is pumped–isn’t even oil, it’s water.”  

“To sum, the critical facts about oil production are no longer in dispute:

“The amount being consumed is rising dramatically.”

“The largest, most productive deposits of high-grade, readily extracted oil are in three Middle Eastern countries: Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran.”

“The number of new deposits being discovered is discouragingly small, and none contain the huge amounts of low sulphur oil of fields in the Middle East.”

“At the same time, many of the world’s major oil fields, including those of Saudi Arabia, are showing signs of depletion and becoming increasingly costly to tap.”

“The picture, then, is clear:”

“If the U.S., China, or one or more European state, could put the lock on the remaining Middle Eastern oil, it would be able to dominate the world economy, out-competing other nations, and/or, controlling their production respecting a cornucopia of goods, including agricultural produce and military hardware. ”

“Let’s not be timid about describing the United States’ problematic situation.  If China, or some combination of European industrial countries, acquires a monopoly on Mid East oil, in only a few years’ time it will be able to wreck the U.S. economy, reducing Americans to the poverty and dependence currently suffered by many Third World populations.”

“Given the interdependence of the world’s national economies, would China or Europe ever do such a terrible thing to another country?”

“Under the right circumstances, of course they would!   So would the United States!”

“The Great Depression demonstrated how brutally indifferent to one another’s situations nations become when the very survival of the state is in jeopardy.”

“And the threat of another global depression of the kind that produced World Wars I and II is now with us.”

“Surely, none of you are prepared to argue we have international instiitutions in place which could, and would, prevent it?”

“The United Nations?  Please!”

“Do you doubt that the U.S. faces the imminent challenge I’ve been describing?”

“Then, consider the following:”

“In the spring of 2002, investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill attended the 30th anniversary celebration of the nationalization of Iraq’s oil.  During a subsequent interview, Scahill reported:”

“Mohamed Rashid, Iraq’s oil minister, announced Iraq would ‘begin oil exploration in two of the largest untapped oil and natural gas reserves in the world:’ West Qurna and Majnoon.”

“’These two fields had been allocated to two companies,’ Scahill continued, one of them French, the other Russian.‘ But because of U.S. pressure and U.N. sanctions, the Russians and the French never began drilling’.”

“Tired of waiting for the sanctions’ removal, Rashid declared Iraq had decided to go ahead with the French-Russian explorations, for which each of those countries was committed to investing billions of dollars.”

“Iraq predicted that by tapping the West Qurna and Majnoon fields it would be able to ‘double oil production,’ ‘theoretically surpass/ing/ Saudi Arabia as the number one producer of oil in the world.’”

“Was this mere wishful thinking on Iraq’s part?   Or was it a reasonable assumption?”

“According to the Oil and Gas Journal of March 7, 2005: ‘The oil fields of Iraq are the least depleted and least developed of any of the Persian Gulf oil producing countries, and Iraq has the potential to rapidly increase oil output . . .  Only Iraq has undeveloped super-giant oil fields—West Qurna, Majnoon, and East Baghdad—and the potential to rapidly increase production to 8-10 billion barrels a day.’”

“Scahill concluded: ‘Saudi Arabia has an enormous border with Iraq.  If that border was erased and the U.S. controlled these two countries—the U.S. would control the world oil markets.’”

“In other words, respecting the product most vital for the survival of every industrial nation, the U.S. would then be able to dictate to the rest of the world.”

“I think we can assume Scahill’s conclusion was apparent to American oil company executives, as well as U.S neocon leaders.”

“Nine months after Rashid made his startling declaration, the U.S. ’Shock and Awe’ assault began.”

“Now consider the material threat which China-the-oil-parched-colossus poses in the Middle East.”

“In reviewing that threat I’ll simply rely on world press citations.”

(With a wink at Bill O’Reilly).  “I’ll report. You decide.”

“Last year the Association for Asian Research made the following observation:”

“‘Beijing’s target is to quadruple its economy by 2020, as it did from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s.’ However, in order ‘to achieve this goal . . . China must rely on external energy supplies.’ Where it currently uses ‘6.3 million barrels of oil a day, . . .  the International Energy Bureau projects /its/ consumption will reach a daily level of 10 million barrels within the next two decades or so.’”

“According to The Washington Quarterly: ‘Since 2002, the Middle East has become the leading arena for Beijing’s efforts to secure effective ownership of critical hydrocarbon resources, rather than relying solely on international markets to meet China’s energy import needs.  There is every reason to anticipate that China will continue, even intensify, its emphasis on the Middle East as part of its energy security strategy.’”

“Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, China made two failed attempts to obtain that country’s oil.  It negotiated ‘a 1.3 billion dollar contract with Saddam in 1979 to develop the al-Ahab oil field in Central Iraq, and in 2001 it was in talks about developing the much larger Halfayah field.’  However, like Russia, Germany and France, China was prevented from activating these deals by the UN sanctions’ which the U.S. had secured.”

“From the U.S. standpoint it was ‘check,’ but hardly ‘checkmate.’

“China then began to focus its attention on Iran.”

“The U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Iran in April 1980, following the seizure of 63 American embassy workers the previous year.”

“According to an old adage, ‘political power abhors a vacuum.’ China was soon demonstrating the cogency of that proposition.”

“In the spring of 2002 the BBC disclosed an ‘historic meeting’ between Chinese and Iranian leaders at which they pledged to ‘greatly expand’ their countries’ economic cooperation.”

“And that’s precisely what they did!

“In November 2004: the Washington Post reported China’s energy needs’ had ‘increased nearly 40 percent during the first ten months of the year;’ prompting what Newsmax called ‘an exponential’ growth in that country’s relationship with Iran.”

“The Asia Times noted Beijing and Tehran signed a ‘mega-gas contract worth an estimated $100 billion’ that month.  Heralded as the ‘deal of the century,’ the pact was expected to be followed by an oil agreement worth another $50 to $100 billion.”

“Iran, China Business Weekly enthused, hopes China will ‘soon replace Japan to become its top destination for energy exports.’”

“In January 2005 the New York Times cited an Iran-China Chamber of Commerce claim that, when all the figures were in, trade between China and Iran would be found ‘to have totaled $7 billion in 2004, up from $5.6 billion in 2003.’”

“This fast-growing symbiotic union of the Chinese and Iranian economies has involved China selling Iran ever-larger quantities of manufacture, in addition to buying its natural gas and its oil.”

“In a 2005 release, the Nixon Center explained China and Iran’s ‘increasingly close relationship’ results from ‘Iran’s need for consumer goods to satisfy its young, West-leaning population,’ as well as ‘China’s need for energy to run its growing economy.’”

“The Center quoted Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s former International Atomic Energy Agency representative, who observed China and Iran ‘complement each other,’ saying: ‘The Chinese have the industry and the Iranians have the energy resources.’”

“Arab News noted partnerships between Iranian, South Korean, French and Japanese firms helped make Iran the Middle East’s leading car producer in 2005, with an output totaling ‘nearly one million vehicles.’ China is also reputed to be building an Iranian auto plant for the manufacture of a low-priced model, while the U.S. stands and watches.”

“As forecast by concerned observers around the world, the reciprocal trade between China and Iran is continuing its remarkable rate of growth.”

Eurasianet.org recently called attention to the fact that ‘nearly 250 Chinese firms are /either/ engaged in industrial and construction projects /in Iran/, or, are flooding the Iranian market with low-priced consumer goods.’”

“In April 2006, the Associated Press published reports that China and Iran were ‘close to settling plans to develop Iran’s Yadavaran oil field . . . in a multibillion dollar deal that comes as Tehran faces the prospect of sanctions over its nuclear program.’  That deal is believed ‘to be worth about $100 billion,’ the AP concluded.”

“On August 25, 2007 the Iran Daily quoted Javad Mansouri, Iran’s ambassador to China, who predicted trade between the two countries will reach a phenomenal $18 billion this year.”

“Mansouri cited the ‘vast economic potentials’ of both countries, along with ‘the growing economic, industrial, technical and scientific ties between them,’ as the bases of the increase in trade.”

“Nor are China’s overtures to the Middle East being directed exclusively at Iran.  In November 2003 the United Arab Emirates observed that trade between China and the seven small states which comprise the UAE had grown by 42.8 percent during the first nine months of that year alone.”

“In January 2005 the NYT reported: ‘Trade volume between China and the six rich countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council—the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman—was expected to reach $20 billion in 2004; up from $16.9 billion in 2003,’ according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.”

“No less disturbing from the United States’ and Israel’s perspective, for more than 20 years China has been providing Iran with the latest weaponry, including missiles.”

“In September 2003, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a charity founded by Sam Nunn and Ted Turner, released this pertinent statement:”

“’China’s missile trade and cooperation with Iran has been a subject of substantial proliferation concern in Washington since the 1980’s. China’s missile exports and assistance to Iran have generally fallen into two areas,’ the NTI continued: ‘the provision of anti-ship cruise missiles and related technology, and technical assistance for Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as some exports of complete ballistic missiles.’”

“In other words, Iran has been rapidly moving toward the point at which it will be able to  defend itself against an attempt by another state to take its oil by force.”

(At this point, Machiavelli suddenly paused for what must have been several minutes. Forgetting he had not yet talked about the war in Iraq, perhaps thinking he had finished his opening statement, a few members of the audience stood and stretched.  Others started quietly conversing.  Then, just as suddenly, Machiavelli resumed speaking. His voice was lower now, and somewhat restrained.  However, it soon became evident his restraint was that of a boxer looking for a weakness in his opponent’s defense in order to throw the decisive punch.)

“If you’ve been following my argument,” Machiavelli began, “you’ll understand I’m not exaggerating when I say that as the 21st century opened the U.S. was approaching a fateful juncture.”

“Fortunately, unlike most Americans, being perceptive Machiavellians, Presi . . . er, Vice President Cheney and his neocon subordinates have been able to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle.”

“The industrial world is heading for a showdown over control of the Middle East’s oil.”

“If China or Europe were to win this struggle, given that international competition for the sale of manufacture is already intense and much of the U.S. productive base is now located abroad, in the event of an international depression it seems virtually certain America would suffer the fate of Germany and Japan in the 1930s.”

“However, the neocon’s have recognized that Western Europe isn’t a serious competitor in the battle for Middle East oil.”

“In comparison with China’s, European economies are only treading water.”

“In addition, Germany and France are able to buy enough oil and natural gas from Russia to keep their homes heated, their cars and factories running.  Besides, eighty percent of France’s electrical needs are being supplied with nuclear power, not oil.”

“Germany and France would doubtlessly like to profit from the acquisition of large quantities of Mid East oil.  But doing so isn’t a dire necessity.”

“For the United States and China it is!

“So, the conflict over control of the Middle East’s oil is between those two states; and whichever one wins will have the final word when it comes to determining the international practice, if an international collapse occurs, even the survival of the other.”

“Due to the economic interdependence of the two countries, the victor will need to consider the interests of the vanquished.  But which state gives, and which receives consideration is going to be of the greatest historical consequence.”

“You Americans are fortunate that several leading neocons are former Trotskyists who once naively supposed that when a country commits to Dr. Marx’s idealist vision it undergoes a utopian transformation.”

“Believing the failure of China and the Soviet Union to construct free, egalitarian and humane socialist systems was of monumental significance, they are now dedicated to protecting the United States as it builds a better world.”

“Irving Kristol, the former Trotskyist who’s variously referred to as the ‘founder’ and the ‘Godfather’ of the neocon movement, expressed these sentiments lucidly, writing:”

“’It is not too much to say that the collapse of the socialist ideal is the most striking event in the history of political thought in this century.  The process of its deflation has been so intermittent—an irregular series of gasps rather than one instantaneous exhalation—that it is not easy for us to grasp its full significance.  Since the death of socialism has not affected our belief in progress, we are tempted to interpret its passing as merely one episode in the interminable education of the human race.’”

“Optimistic, and still devoted to moving the species forward, the neocons grasp the importance of the U.S. winning this struggle.”

“For over two centuries America has symbolized freedom, democracy and economic opportunity to the entire world.”

“China, on the contrary, represents religious repression, thought control, and a heavy-handed social, economic and political manipulation.”

“In the U.S. dissidents are criticized, sometimes ridiculed.  In China they’re imprisoned or shot.”

“Tens-of-millions of people around the globe dream of becoming American citizens. Millions risk injury or arrest every year in order to enter the country illegally, hundreds dying of heat stroke and thirst in the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona.”

“No foreigners dream of moving to China, or jeopardize their lives trying to do it.”

(Looking at the Fox News team intently, Machiavelli then added:)

“Your neocons realize that more than the future of the United States is at stake!  The Western world, whose very way of life, values and traditions the U.S. represents and defends now stands in peril.”

“They recognize it isn’t a question of whether the United States should fight China for control of the Middle East oil. It must! And they are determined that under their guidance it will.”

“However, the neocons also understand that China and the U.S. would both be ill-served by a public acknowledgement of the battle.  Their economies are much too interdependent for that.”

“As an August 2006 Congressional Research Report remarked: ‘The United States is China’s largest overseas market and second largest source of foreign direct investment on a cumulative basis . . .  In 2004, China replaced Germany and the United Kingdom to become the fourth largest market for U.S. goods and remains the fastest growing major U.S. export market.’”

“In addition, only Japan holds a larger portion of the U.S. foreign debt than China: $644 billion and $350 billion respectively.”

“Considerable pressure to restrict these mutually beneficial relations is already exerted by American labor unions, and by small manufacturers whose oxen are being gored.”

“If the U.S.-China conflict over control of Middle East oil were openly declared, that  pressure could become irresistable.”

“The critical question for the neocons in the year 2000, then, was how the U.S. should go about waging this silent, but nonetheless epic, battle: i.e., the appropriate weapon to use.”

“Unlike during the Great Depression, economic competition will not work.”

“Few American-made products can compete with Chinese manufacture here in the U.S. .  They are even less competitive in the Middle East.”

“As economist Robert J. Samuelson recently observed, China doesn’t have ‘universal social security.’  ‘Only 17 percent of its workers have pensions,’ and ‘a mere 14 percent are covered by unemployment insurance.’ Factor in its workers’ low wages, and it’s obvious that China has the upper hand where selling the Middle East manufacture is concerned.”

“Nor can the U.S. compete when it comes to buying the oil.  Given the huge sums of money that must be paid to individuals and institutions who hold oil company stock–and stock in corporations like Bechtel and Haliburton—which are involved with many aspects of drilling, shipping and processing oil—along with the exorbitant salaries of the executives employed by those firms, and it’s clear China’s state-operated companies can afford to be far more generous than U.S. corporations.”

“To sum the United States’ fundamental dilemma: its’ survival, as well as maintenance of its’ dominant world position, requires that it gain unchallenged control of Middle East oil, determining which countries obtain what amounts, and at what price; and, that in doing so, it receives the lion’s share of profit coming from the oil.”

“In November 2002, four months before the U.S. began bombing Iraq, the Canadian investment firm ‘Union Securities Limited’ posted a very terse, but very accurate, description of the problematic situation the neocons confronted, writing:”

“’In 1950 the United States supplied roughly 52 percent of the world’s oil production. Today it has fallen to around 8 percent . . . The Persian Gulf states have about 67 per-cent of the world’s reserves. The U.S., by comparison, only has about 3 percent . . . This makes the Persian Gulf the most important area in the world when it comes to supplying the fuel that the U.S. economy and indeed the rest of the world needs . . .  Iraq has around 10 percent of the world’s reserves, the world’s second largest behind Saudi Arabia.  Iraq is also producing only about 2.5 million barrels per day, well below its potential capacity of around 7 million barrels per day.’ “

“Union Securities then identified the sole instrument with which the U. S. could accomplish what is becoming indispensible for its preservation and the continuation of Western culture: Military force! Pointing to the United States’ enormous international debt, it presciently concluded: ’Money and Oil!   Is it any wonder that the U.S. is anxious to move quickly to subdue Iraq, and possibly Saudi Arabia as well, before things get out of hand?  By all indications it is not a question of will there be a war against Iraq.  It is a question of when.’”

“Beginning in the 1950s, defending it’s Third World interests from expropriation has required the United States to radically increase its production and sale of weaponry.  The arms sales have then helped it compensate for the competitive edge it was losing respecting the sale of manufacture in general.”

“As a consequence, since the 1990s the U.S. has been responsible for approximately 45 percent of all international arms transactions. According to the Congressional Research Service, the value of U.S. arms sales was $18.6 billion for the year 2000 alone.”

“Most of the leading neocons have Defense Department histories: Vice President Richard Cheney served as Secretary of Defense under President H.W. Bush; Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense during both Bush presidencies; Richard Perle was Assistant Secretary of Defense for President Reagan; Paul Wolfowitz served as Deputy Secretary of Defense under G.W. Bush; Eric Edelman is presently the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, and Douglas Feith has held various Defense Department positions.”

“These men know well that no country, least of all China, can match the vast array, or the sophistication, of U.S. weapons systems: Reconnaissance Satellites; B-52 bombers equipped with smart bombs, cluster bombs and bunker-busters; unmanned Predators, able to track a vehicle in near silence, then blow it away with a guided missile; Black Hawk, Apache, Kiowa Warrior and Chinook helicopters, Avenger and Patriot ground-to-air defense systems; Abrams tanks; Bradleys, M88A2 Hercules Armored Vehicles; depleted-uranium-tipped anti-tank missiles; and, if needed, the latest in chemical and biological weaponry, research on which Congress granted the National Institutes of Health $1.76 billion in 2006.”

“On March 19th, 2003, the Bush neocons answered Union Securities’ rhetorical question.  They ordered that the ‘shock and awe’ bombing of Iraq begin; and, to date, they have continued to follow my instructions with ingenuity and brilliance.”

“You will recall my advice to leaders who must take their states to war in order to preserve them: ‘If you are unable to protect the favored status of a subjugated country’s elite, you must destroy them!  Nor will it be sufficient to eliminate the prince’s family,’ I warned.  ‘The aristocrats who remain will make themselves heads of fresh movements against you, and, if you are unable to either satisfy or exterminate them, the conquered nation will be lost whenever time brings the opportunity.’”

“Similarly, ‘if the way of life of the masses can be sustained,’ I counselled, ‘the velvet glove should be used in their governance, since they will present no serious threat.  However, if you are unable to defend their way of life, they must be driven from the region or destroyed, because you will never be able to control them.’”

“In 2003, the neocons understood it would be impossible for the U.S. to preserve the status of the Iraqi majority, whatever their class.”

“The reasons why are hardly a mystery.”

“A June 2003 Congressional Research Report to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations observed that following their seizure of power in 1968, Saddam and the Baathists ‘placed great emphasis on the industrialization of Iraq’s economy.’ As a result, the ‘middle class rose from 28 percent of the country’s urban population in 1958, to 54 percent in 1988.’ Iraq’s total population also grew significantly, ‘from 9.4 million in 1970,’ to ’22.3 million in 2000.’”

“By ‘the late 1980s,’ notes the Congressional Report, ‘the Iraqi middle class was a highly urbanized, secular, well-educated group, consisting mainly of state employees and civil servants who benefitted greatly from the expansion of educational and government employment opportunities, and from the increased levels of government revenue’ coming from the oil nationalization.“

“The ‘Iraqis also had life expectancy and mortality rates comparable to those for Saudi Arabia, Libya and other high income Arab countries.’”

“When the Gulf War began in 1991, ‘Iraq was one of  the more prosperous and advanced countries of the Arab world.’ ‘It was an upper middle income country,’ the Congressional Report reiterates, ‘with a substantial middle class, considerable technical capacity, high (by regional standards) female participation in education and the economy, and relatively high standards overall of education and health care.’”

“Education to the highest university level and cradle-to-grave health care was free for most Iraqis.  Women enjoyed basic equality, drove cars and wore western clothing.  Many were physicians, lawyers, judges, chemists and professors.”

“For more than 35 years Saddam Hussein, a megalomaniac with a Stalinist personality, had entertained dreams of doing what Egypt’s Gamel Abdel Nasser was unable to do: unify the Arab world, then use its vast oil wealth to modernize the Middle East.”

“Saddam recognized that doing so would be no easy task.  Iraq’s population is comprised of a Shia majority, many of whom are among its poorest citizens, a Sunni minority, from which most of the wealthiest Iraqis were drawn, a large Kurdish minority in the north, small rural communities ruled by warlords, and other, numerically insignificant, ethnic or religious populations, including Christians.  With so many divergent groups having divergent interests, the Baathists’ industrialization program inevitably did serious injury to one or another of them at various times, particularly the Shia and the Kurds.”

“Whenever any group dared to engage in disruption, however mild, Saddam used abject torture and terror to drive them back in line.”

“It was evident to the neocons that, having taken control of Iraq, the United States would not be able to cede enough oil money to maintain the cushy life style of its elite body of military officers, businessmen, academics, lawyers, judges, scientists, physicians, politicians and entertainers, or, the comfortable existence of its large middle class.”

“Protecting the United States’ own economy would require that much of the profit be used to remunerate its oil corporation stockholders and executives, along with the heads of American firms like Bechtel and Haliburton, which would need to operate in Iraq in order to maintain the flow of oil and U.S. domination.  They, in turn, would use a portion of their swollen incomes to employ thousands of other Americans in building and maintaining private planes, sail boats, ski lodges, and mansions for them and their families at home.”

“In addition, getting France, Germany, Japan, England and China, to submit to U.S. control of the Middle East’s oil would make it imperative that they be able to buy sufficient amounts of it cheaply enough to keep their own economies running smoothly.  Given the integration of the global economy, the indicated sharing of the take would not be an act of charity.  It would be a necessity if the U.S. was going to continue exporting and importing goods profitably.”

“Even more important is the extravagant cost of the instrument the United States finds it must employ to gain control of the Middle East’s oil.  China has been using the free market approach: ‘We’ll pay top dollar for your oil and natural gas and sell you low-priced manufacture in return,’ it offers; an arrangement which has no attendant expenses.”

“However, military force, the only competitive device available to the U.S., in this instance, is inordinately expensive. In September 2002, Lawrence Lindsey, then the president’s economic adviser, estimated a war with Iraq would cost between $100 and $200 billion.  It has already cost over $550 billion, and estimates of the total price if the war continues for another few years run as high as $2 trillion.”

“At the moment, the U.S. is putting much of this remarkable expense on the tab with Japan and (ironically), China.  But eventually someone will have to begin to pay.  With its economy already under great strain, that someone can’t be the United States.  While their plan hasn’t started working yet, the neocons’ prewar prediction was that the U.S. would buy the weaponry used to dominate Iraq with profit from Iraqi oil.  When the expenses previously mentioned are included, that would leave very little for the Iraqis.”

“Where obtaining the Middle East’s oil is concerned, China and the U.S. might be compared to guests at a pot luck dinner.  China is able to bring a dish and put it on the table with dishes brought by others and those provided by the host.  The United States’ only option is to arrive empty handed and declare ‘Everybody away from the table, I’m going to eat!’; not a very friendly approach perhaps, but the only one open to the neocons if they would preserve their state and Western culture.”

“Under the circumstances, the U.S. had no choice.  In order to seize control of Iraq’s oil and profitably determine its distribution, it would have to do the following: “

“ * Annihilate not only Saddam, the country’s prince, but a large section of the Iraqi elite: the military officers, judges, doctors, lawyers, university presidents, engineers and chemists who would otherwise disruptively demand a continuation of their favored situations.”

“* Kill or drive from the country a few million middle class Iraqis, whose statuses it would likewise be impossible to sustain.”

“ * Destroy the economic, political and judicial system through which the Baathists held power, including the symbols of their authority.”

“ * Raze the infrastructure vital to the country’s existence: its electrical grids, telephone, water and sewage systems, its colleges and universities, rail lines and bridges.  This would help to force middle class Iraqis out of the country by reducing their living standard to the bare-survival level.”

“* Then, it would  be necessary to break the country into several pieces, assigning control over each piece to that economically poorest group which would be capable of defending both its own authority and U.S. dominion over the oil.”

“Surely you can now understand the material truth of my claim that lies aren’t merely useful when a leader must direct the annihilation of another people in order to save his state.  They are essential!”

“Consider the insane consequences if the neocons had chosen to be honest prior to the ‘shock and awe’ bombing of Baghdad.”

“Suppose Cheney had gone on television to announce:”

“’My dear fellow Americans: to preserve the U.S. economy upon which we all depend for our survival, and to preserve Western Culture, the wellspring and the repository of all that we hold dear, we are going to lay-waste Iraq, wantonly killing between tens-of-thousands and a million or more people, from babies and little children, to the aged and the infirm.”

“’We intend to traumatize the Iraqi population by ripping out the arteries of their state: eradicating its army, destroying its hospitals, universities, highways and bridges, its water purification systems and electricity generating plants.”

“’We will make the Sunnis’ and Shiites’ situations so desperate that they turn upon each other to survive.’”

“’We are going to urge Shia slum dwellers to vent the frustration and rage long-smoldering in their hearts by robbing and killing those who have the things they’ve been denied: the country’s professionals, its doctors, lawyers, chemists and professors.  When they hesitate, we will do the killing for them in their name.’”

“’We are preparing to dispatch more than 130,000 highly-trained mercenaries drawn from around the world: the coldest, most ruthless men we are able find.  We will encourage the mercenaries to murder Iraqis on impulse and at will, providing them with full impunity for their rapine and slaughter.’”

“Simultaneous with cleansing Iraq of individuals who might present a troublesome opposition, we are going to construct huge, heavily-fortified military bases from which we will direct an equally necessary destructive conquest of other Mid East states sometime in the near future.’”

“In case some of you still don’t ‘get it’ respecting the indispensable function of lies, let me end my opening argument with an analogy.”

“Imagine a fisherman who puts his net in the water, then throws in bait to attract the fish. It’s called ‘chumming,’ and it works.  The fish become so intent on eating the bait that it never occurs to them they are themselves about to be caught and eaten.”

“So it is with the neocon deceptions about Iraq.  Like fish feeding on chum, liberal opponents of the war have focused on, obsessed about, the lies, successfully distracted from the material realities the lies are told to camouflage.”

“’There were no weapons of mass destruction!’ the liberals have screamed.  ‘Saddam did not attempt to buy enriched uranium from Niger!  Nor did he provide al Qaeda with support!  The Iraqi people do not see us as liberators!  ‘And we are not bringing them democracy!’”

In short, liberal opponents of the war have been using the very neocon lies they claim to reject to evaluate events in Iraq (a downright mind-boggling activity when you think about it).  In doing so, they contemplate failure at every turn: the countrywide destruction; the raw sewage in Baghdad’s drinking water; the suicide bombings, with 80 to 100 innocent people killed every day; the 4 million Iraqis who have abandoned their homes, 2 million fleeing to Syria and Jordan.

“All the while, Vice President Cheney employs the neocons’ material strategy and objectives to judge the same events and, with a condescending smile on his face, he assures reporters that all is going well. “

“To Cheney, it’s blatantly evident that the mercenaries and American forces are creating the chaotic destruction required for the U.S. to gain unchallenged control of Iraq and its oil.”

“It’s equally evident to him the neocons’ lies are working just as intended.”

“Conservative Americans continue to support the war enthusiastically, while the liberal opposition fumes and fusses about neocon lies being demonstratively false, studiously avoiding any materialist analysis of the war, as though just touching the subject might prove fatal.”

“They write, email, phone and finance presidential and congressional candidates who urge the U.S. must withdraw from Iraq, ignoring the overwhelming material evidence it isn’t going to happen no matter who occupies the White House and the Congress; a point  made by retired Air Force Lieutenant Karen Kwiatkowski, who served as a Pentagon analyst and desk officer immediately prior to the war.”

“In defense of that proposition, Kwiatkowski referred to the four U.S. ‘mega bases’ already completed.  ‘Of the 150,000 to 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq,’ she  noted, ‘probably 110,000  are associated with one of those bases, safely ensconced behind acres and acres of concrete.’”

“The bases will ‘operate there indefinitely,’ Kwiatkowski observed, ‘no matter what happens in Baghdad, no matter who takes over, no matter if the country splits into three pieces or stays one.  We are not leaving the bases, and a Democratic president, I don’t care who they are, will keep them there.’”

“All four of the bases–al-Asad Air Base, Balad Air Base, Camp Fallujah and Camp Taqaddum—are able to accommodate the largest planes.  The neocons had them built to serve as launching platforms from which other Middle East countries can be monitored and, when necessary, attacked.  Their function, and what can actually be done about them, are grand-scale material issues the neocons’ opposition almost never discuss.”

“Then there’s the $700 million U.S. Embassy constructed in the heavily secured Green Zone.  While no meaningful effort has been made to provide Baghdad residents living outside the Green Zone with basic necessities like potable water and electricity, the Embassy is approaching completion.  Covering 104 acres, an area larger than the Vatican, it’s the biggest embassy in the world.  But its objective purpose and what can or should be done with it, are likewise critical material questions about which opponents of the war are silent.”

“The Iraq war opposition also avoids the troublesome material issue of the mercenaries operating and killing in Iraq, their number equal to that of U.S. forces.”

“Now I’m going to tie the only remaining loose thread of my argument.”

“You will recall that the need for leaders who take their states from peace to war to formulate a clear-headed strategy which they ‘micromanage’ is a central axiom of my theory.”

“It should be evident the neocons have done both things.”

Lieutenant Colonel Kwiatkowski, among the few members of the anti-war faction who seem to sense what’s going on, wrote of the Office of Special Plans, the Pentagon intelligence-gathering operation established by the neocons in the fall of 2002: ‘These guys had an agenda.’  ‘Our boss, Bill Ludy, . . . announced to us that from now on action officers, staff officers such as myself and all my peers . . . were no longer to look at CIA and DIA intelligence, we were simply to call the Office of Special Plans and they would send down talking points, which we would incorporate verbatim, no deletions, no additions, no modifications, into every paper that we did.’”

“Mark Halperin, Teddy Davis, Tahman Bradley, Matthew Zavala, Paul Fidalgo and others have accused Cheney of ‘micromanaging the media,’ and indeed he did.  Cheney micromanaged the Office of Special Plans as well, making repeated trips to the Pentagon to make sure the requisite ‘facts’ were being created.”

“Karl Rove, President Bush’s senior political adviser, was said to micromanage ‘everything that came out of the White House’ to insure it accorded with the neocons’ mysterious agenda.”

“Reporter Seymour Hersh wrote of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s obsessive micromanaging, and Bob Woodward elaborated upon in it his book, State of Denial. According to Woodward, Rumsfeld was involved with every aspect of military operations, sending out a constant flurry of memoes his subordinates called ‘snow flakes,’ and acquiring the dismissive appellation: ‘the 7000 mile screwdriver.’”

But, having labelled the neocons ‘Machiavellian,’ then steadfastly refusing to look for their strategic material objective, which, by definition, a Machiavellian must have, anti-war liberals have gone on to accuse the neocons of ’micromanaging’ that undiscovered, for the liberals, non-existent objective.”

“Only an idiot would behave that way, of course; and I assure you, the neocons are anything but idiots.  Maddeningly, the liberals then project their own inadequacy on the neo-cons, describing them as bumbling and inept.”

“Which brings me back to the matter of why people desire being lied to when preserving the state that sustains them requires the brutalization of another people.  The lies, I observed, provide the majority with a justification for the killing, while enabling others to engage in make-believe resistance,  puzzled by events, dragged complainingly along after the leader who prescribes the necessary evil.”

When the killing is finally over, those who’ve played the role of make-believe resisters are invariably found to support the results of the destruction with what they comfort themselves are clear consciences and clean hands, characterizing them as ‘the best that can be achieved in a bad situation.’”

“Some liberal opponents of the Iraq War have already begun moving in that direction.”

“In a spring 2007 interview Hasan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah in Lebanon, told Seymour Hersh:”

“’The daily killing and displacement taking place in Iraq aims at achieving three Iraqi parts, which will be sectarian and ethnically pure as a prelude to Iraq’s partition.  Within one or two years at the most, there will be total Sunni areas, total Shiite areas, and total Kurdish areas. . . .  President Bush is lying when he says he does not want Iraq to be partitioned.  All the facts occurring on the ground make you swear he is dragging Iraq to partition. And a day will come when he will say, ‘I cannot do anything, since the Iraqis want the partition of their country and I honor the wishes of the people of Iraq.’”

“A few anti-Iraq-War liberals have publicly backed the consequences of the neocon reality they’ve pretended to oppose.  Senator Joe Biden and Leslie Gelb, Emeritus President of the Council on Foreign Relations recommended an ethnic and religious division of Iraq two years ago, and in July of this year, Edward Joseph, a visiting scholar at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution, released a plan which calls for ‘soft partitioning’ the country. Naturally, ‘Joseph and O’Hanlon expressed regrets about the ethnic cleansing they advocated.’”

(Wiping his forehead with a handkerchief, Machiavelli ended his opening statement with a boast).

“I’ve provided you with material evidence that the neocons were right to attack Iraq; material evidence they were right when they obfuscated their motives with lies; material evidence the lies have kept the attention of Americans advantageously diverted; and, I’ve given you yet another material demonstration that when preserving the state upon which their lives and livelihoods depends requires, the great majority of people will embrace fabrication before objective analysis every time.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s