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A War not just for oil

Joe Craig

11th March 2003

A small article in the ‘Irish Times’ of 11th March from the news agency Reuters is more revealing of the real purpose and nature of the coming war with Iraq than acres of newsprint from many of the columnists who populate the press.

It reports that the US government has invited at least five engineering companies to submit bids for a contract to do ‘reconstruction’ work in Iraq.  The winning company would get about $900 million worth of business.  “Because of the urgent circumstances and the unique nature of this work, USAID will undertake a limited selection process that expedites the review and selection of contractors for these projects,” said a spokesperson for the US Agency for International Development.

It is hard to immediately appreciate the multiple levels of arrogance and duplicity revealed by such news.  So the decision to go to war has not yet been taken?  So the purpose of the war is to bring freedom to the Iraqi people but they will not be able to decide what is rebuilt, who does it, how it is going to be paid for and by whom?  And of course by what right does the US take it upon itself to flatten a country so that it needs rebuilding in the first place?

While it has become noticeable that the British news media, through their self appointed experts at the UN or on location, have begun to note that the French and Russian opposition to the war may have something to do with contracts with the existing regime, they have yet to provide much comment on similar motivation on behalf of the British.  But maybe the report is evidence that the crumbs for the British table might be even paltrier than expected.

At any event we now know that when American and British government spokespersons deny that the war is one for oil what they really mean is a war not just for oil.

The USAID spokesperson when asked to explain why so few companies had been asked to tender and why the process was so secretive said that ‘These are not companies which are new to this type of work.’  One of the five companies, Kellogg Brown & Root is owned by Halliburton, once headed by Vice-President Dick Cheney.  This company has already won a US government contract to oversee firefighting operations at Iraqi oilfields.

Rarely have the intimate ties between the capitalist state and the capitalist class been so obvious.  Every day reveals the imperialist character of the war.  Every day those opposed to war are reminded that to oppose it is to oppose imperialism.  It is necessary to say so and to make an anti-imperialist strategy the centre of opposition to the war.



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