Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Oil?

You have all no doubt heard the old story of the man caught walking along the road with a stolen cow on a leash. When asked what he’s doing with the cow he says,” what cow?”

That’s the way I feel about what we are doing in the Middle East. You never, or at least almost never hear the word oil mentioned. President Obama yesterday talking about Libya gave us the usual stuff about how the Libyans themselves instigated the civil war, how we and the U. N. nobly went to their aid, and now we have to help them, and etc. At no point did he mention oil or our and the English and French interest in it. When people ask what are we doing in Afghanistan after all these years, and why don’t we get out, oil is never mentioned, or the pipeline that oil companies are planning to cross Afghanistan and avoid Russia. Our presence, and continued presence, is always given in terms of fighting al Quaida to make us safe, helping the Afghans in nation building, improving the lot of women, and blah, blah, blah. When we illegally and unconstitutionally attacked Iraq the Bush administration denied it had anything to do with oil, it was to rid the country of a dictator, to stop his weapons of mass destruction (that did not exist), to bring democracy, and the same old, same old. The fact that Dick the Slimy hosted a meeting of oil giants even before the attack to divide up Iraqi oil seems to have been conveniently forgotten by all. The talk of attacking Iran and bringing about regime change is, of course, because Iran sits on oceans of oil. Our intimate relationship with Saudi Arabia is all about oil, as are our relationships with all countries that possess that particular commodity. And yet this is never really mentioned, we continue to either say “what oil,” or just ignore oil as a motive for our desire to control the Middle East and our oil supply. As I’m sure I said somewhere before, when I saw a bumper sticker in Sandpoint, Idaho, even before we attacked Iraq, that said “Nuke their ass and steal their gas,” I thought it was just some warmongering crank, I didn’t realize it was in fact our Middle East policy.

I am always impressed by candidates and want-to-be candidates with absolutely no foreign policy experience themselves who immediately begin to criticize President Obama for his foreign policy. Sarah Palin and now Rick Perry come easily to mind. Perry has said (I should say read) that Obama’s foreign policy is “naïve, arrogant, misguided, and dangerous.” He seemed to have a bit a trouble reading this from the obviously prepared comments he had in front of him, clearly written by someone else. It reminded me of Bush’s speeches where he obviously did not even understand what he was asked to read. Of course both Palin and Bachmann have also been critical of Obama’s foreign policy, based, I gather on their own vast experience in that domain. I guess this is why it really doesn’t matter who the President is as long as they can read. I noticed that Bush improved as he went along, perhaps Perry can do the same, but somehow I doubt it.

I note that some restaurants are now using tablet computers for orders and to replace waiters and waitresses. Groceries are increasingly using self-checkout computers. Of course we already have things like chain saws, computer operated machines of all kinds, robots in factories, tractors, and all kinds of technology to render human help less and less important. At the same time we seem to be wondering why the private sector doesn’t create jobs. It is no doubt possible to create some jobs but I do not believe we can possibly depend upon the private sector, even along with the government, to create some 15 or more million jobs. You might think some provisions would be made to deal with the increasingly technological sophistication involved and realize that the necessity for jobs is not what it once was. Workers should have to work fewer hours, take longer vacations, have more leisure time, and so on, but, of course, all the gains just go into the pockets of the wealthy and the corporations. These gains are certainly not being shared by all as they should be.

Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.

Omar Bradley

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