OP-ED: Snookered (again) in Iraq

By Joseph J. Honick

Editor's note: This commentary ran Oct. 7, 2010 and is worth repeating

It’s not as catchy as “Sleepless in Seattle”, but it did happen when we were asleep at the switch in DC!

One paragraph in the Wall Street Journal of October 5 tells much of the story:

“Iraq has signed 12 deals with international oil companies to ramp up output capacity to about 12 million barrels a day from around 2.4 million barrels a day now.”

The article on page A19, far from the madding crowd, goes on to recite the specific companies, but all of this is hardly the real story. Does anyone recall when Dick Cheney was telling us how we would benefit from those reinvigorated oil fields once hostilities were over?

Sometime ago, I asked the question here “When Do We Get Payback From Iraq?” The idea was ridiculed, not because we did not deserve the reimbursement but, rather, because those who have controlled this fiasco in the Middle East would laugh at the very idea of the question.

They were right!

So how did our military men and women become the outsourced fodder for the oil industry of not only Iraq, but Saudi Arabia and other oil dripping Arab neighbors of Iraq as well? And are we the hardly innocent captives of our oil suppliers in those countries…also, what role has the giant BP played in all of this?

Even more critical, especially as we move toward one of the most important elections in our history, how is it that not one of our political leaders has raised any of these questions?

If you read and listen to all the political propaganda flying around at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars from reported and unidentifiable sources, you would think that the only issues at hand have to do with deficits, health reform and too much government. Not one partisan flack has felt it necessary to figure out how we can get out of one inconclusive conflict and another seemingly endless one, both draining us of our moral relevance nationally and internationally and our fiscal resources as well.

For those in our intelligence and foreign affairs communities who try to sort out the variety of disparate and seemingly conflicting events , it’s often difficult to decipher how and why some things slip out of the grasp of major media and the general public. Yet, while what should be a legitimate scandal impacting all of us, if not the world, a powerful class action lawsuit against one of the major oil countries, Saudi Arabia, has been literally smothered in legal morass by both the Bush and Obama administrations. The case in question is a trillion dollar affair brought by a few thousand 9/11 victims’ families because 15 of the 19 perpetrators were trained in Saudi Arabia whose powerful PR folks helped spend more than $14 million in just the six months following the tragedy to deflect attention away. That effort has hardly ebbed since then.

Worst of all, the Saudis have been able to hide behind a kind of legal immunity allegedly barring such suits against foreign sovereigns, and despite piles of evidence that can prove embarrassing both the Saudis and ourselves. Yet we all know how Libya’s Gaddafi, caught abetting the Lockerbie tragedy, was forced into promising several billions to victims’ survivors, that is, until he also found out he could renege with impunity and still be warmly received by George Bush, Tony Blair and the United Nations.

If you feel this confuses several unrelated issues, you could be expected to think that way. On the other hand, clever strategies for deflection are created this way both to dim memories of events and to avoid responsibility

So here we are, in the middle of another mudslinging political campaign that does little for our political dignity, with virtually no attention by the participants of any of the now polyglot of parties regarding how we have been snookered in the Middle East by oil blackmail or worse.

In another segment, we need to deal with the blatantly corrupt Afghanistan regime for which we are also shouldering both the financial and human costs.

As I have asked elsewhere on these pages: will the real American leaders please stand up?

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Joseph J. Honick is an international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications, including huntingtonnews.net. Honick can be reached at joehonick@gmail.com
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