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“One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.” — George W. Bush

Shortly before George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to topple our former ally Saddam Hussein, a Sunni strong man, George invited a few learned English-speaking Iraqis to Washington to talk to him about the country he was soon to invade. One of the Iraqis explained that it was essential George understand the ancient enmity between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims that underpinned every aspect of political and social reality in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. To which our commander-in-chief famously replied, “There’s more than one kind of Muslim? I didn’t know that.”

Today, eleven years after George made his remarkable confession (remarkable for a President of the United States) and a rapidly escalating civil war engulfs Iraq, understanding the ancient enmity between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims is, indeed, essential to making even a little bit of sense of what’s going on in Iraq. The supranational corporations have manipulated this Sunni-Shi’ite enmity for a hundred years whenever such manipulation would enhance their sucking trillions of dollars worth of oil from Iraq and other oil-rich kingdoms of the Middle East.

A few years before George H. Bush, launched the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in 1990, National Geographic magazine ran a lush spread of photos of the beautiful thriving country of Iraq, including flattering portraits of the handsome Saddam and his beautiful wife. The text of the article hailed Saddam as a forward-thinking benevolent leader who had masterfully used billions of petro dollars to vault the formerly impoverished cradle of civilization to the forefront of modernity. In Saddam’s Iraq, women were college professors and doctors and business owners, and though Saddam was a devout Sunni, more and more Iraqis were casting off the shackles of Muslim orthodoxy, both Shi’ite and Sunni, to embrace the exciting possibilities of secularism and equality.

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” — George W. Bush

For the eight years Bill Clinton was President of the United States, from 1992 to 2000, Bill knowingly approved thousands of aerial bombings of Iraq by our unchallenged air force targeting power plants, water pipelines, water purification plants, schools, hospitals, bridges, roads and all basic infrastructure. Yes, Bill knowingly bombed the once thriving country of Iraq back into the stone age before George W. Bush’s puppeteers began promoting the lie that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and the toppling of the World Trade Center, and further cooked up the myth that Saddam possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, both fictions used to justify the second invasion of Iraq.

I am reminded of these sad and terrible facts as I read about Iraq today and recall marching against the first Gulf War in 1990, our signs reading No Blood For Oil, and marching again in 2003, our signs still reading No Blood For Oil. Both wars were spearheaded by the Bush family, and because the Bush family fortune was deeply enmeshed with the Saudi royal family via Chevron Oil, I thought Chevron would be the ideal corporate target for a boycott to give some teeth to the anti-war movement—a boycott I could never convince any anti-war leader or group to promote.

Now there are cries from reactionary politicians and pundits who want the United States to act militarily to prop up the incredibly corrupt and inept Shi’ite government the United States installed in Iraq. These not-very-bright politicians and pundits are urging Obama to strike from the air to…what? How will more death and destruction resolve the enmity between the Sunnis and Shi’ites that was, according to that 1980’s National Geographic article, fading away as Iraq emerged into modernity and peace?

How corrupt is the current Iraqi regime? Here is one example reported by Alexander Reed Kelly. “By 2014, the going price for command of an Iraqi army division was reported to be around one million dollars, payable over two years as the purchaser recouped his investment via fees levied at roadblocks and other revenue streams. Little wonder that when called on to fight the disciplined and ruthless ISIS, the Iraqi army has melted away.”

 “The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measure it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.” — Daniel Moynihan

According to Noam Chomsky, the invasion of Iraq in 1990 by the United States and Britain to dislodge Iraqi troops from Kuwait, an invasion resulting in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Iraqi troops, was entirely unnecessary. Crippling sanctions against Iraq were working and the United Nations was preparing to oversee negotiations to peacefully resolve the border dispute between Kuwait and Iraq that had inspired Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in the first place.

But George H. Bush urgently wanted a war and so rushed to attack before non-military tactics might have defused the situation. While refreshing my memory about this moment in history, I found an online video made in 1991 of Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal discussing the invasion of Iraq that had just occurred. In the course of their conversation, they reminded each other that shortly before the invasion, the national media was buzzing with stories about Neil Bush being sued (and nearly being indicted on criminal charges) for his part in the Savings & Loan debacle that cost American taxpayers, according to Vidal, as much as the entire cost of World War Two!

By using war to divert public attention from his Ponzi scheming son and the massive crime perpetrated by bankers who were then bailed out by Congress (foreshadowing the economic meltdown of 2008 and the government’s bailout of the perpetrators) President George H. Bush was using a strategy employed by despots for thousands of years. Domestic improprieties got you down? Create a foreign threat, preferably from a country that isn’t really a threat, and make a patriotic fuss about going to war to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of pleasure.

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” — Winston Churchill

In 2003, when the anti-war movement in America vanished within days of the United States invading Iraq for the second time, I came to the conclusion that the disappearance of even symbolic resistance to the illegal war and occupation was directly connected to the unwillingness of any anti-war leader or anti-war organization in America to undertake a boycott of Chevron Oil.

I think such a boycott was never undertaken because the war in Iraq was the first major military operation launched by the United States that was obviously about securing and maintaining a constant supply of cheap gasoline for our cars, and we, the people of the United States, even so-called peaceniks, wanted and still want cheap gas more than we want anything else, even peace and freedom, even a habitable planet.

(Todd Walton’s web site is


  1. Mitch Clogg June 25, 2014

    Saddam was an emphatically SECULAR president of Iraq. As to his “devout”-ness, he wasn’t. He made a show of piety when it was politically useful.

    Much more important, he was born a Sunni, but he joined the new Baath Party as a young man. The Baath Party was atheist and socialist and strove for a pan-Arab, multi-nation unity. Needless to say, the U.S. doesn’t want pan-Arab unity and undermined it at every turn.

    Saddam forbade open Sunni-Shia quarrels. He–and only he–was able to keep the Sunni-Shia-Kurd enmity controlled. With him gone, Iraq is back to being a sad and violent mess, the very condition our government prefers in the middle east.

    It’s sometimes called “cauldronization,” meaning a constantly simmering, sometimes boiling-over state of rivalry. This condition means fabulously profitable arms sales to all the hostile parties, and nation-states that are unable to represent their own interests in world affairs. (Africa is another good example. There’s an eager pan-Africa movement on that continent, but the U.S. will sabotage it at every opportunity.)

    To call ISIS “ruthless” is to fall for the government-corporate line. When is armed strife not ruthless? ISIS shows signs of being a thoughtful, effective force, something our captive media are not telling us. Watch Democracy Now! for better balance.

  2. mark June 25, 2014

    The ‘antiwar’ movement is largely infiltrated by the Democratic Party and specifically by their zionist neo-con wing..

    This is why there was no opposition. Democrats joined Bush in supporting the invasion.

  3. Rick Weddle July 1, 2014

    Perpetually intermittent wars are good for one (1) thing: Astonishing-huge profits. Going to war is monster-profitable before you ‘win’ anything, like their oil. However fruitful these wars are at the ‘end,’ bagging the loot, the very process shovels more fortune away from those who need it, to those who goddamned sure don’t. The ongoing unpleasant-ness in the Arab world has old roots, but outside forces (us and our pals), prominent there lately, have not helped any (none). Read T.E. Lawrence’s accounts of his involvement with Arab partisans, and how he was unable to get real weapons for them in their (SUCCESSFUL ANYWAY) fighting against Turkish forces in ww1. The Brits didn’t want the Arabs TOO well armed and organized, because the conclusion of the ww1 festivities would leave Arab oil in western hands (BP; SOCO; etc…)…and it simply wouldn’t do for the victorious and newly-united Arab tribes to be able to defend THEIR OWN RESOURCES…
    So, what would you expect from such an already-over-heated situation to have the lid slammed on it for,say, 100 years? Well, if you had been paying attention, you might anticipate that people that badly screwed over might actually fight back…
    But then, see, you can call ’em ‘terrorists’ and do anything you want in ‘retaliation.’…$$…$$$…$$$
    Those cash registers keep roarin’ off the counter. We get to keep their oil. Kaching.
    They haven’t quite picked up on the ‘democracy’ lessons we’ve been so free with. Kaching.
    Wups; they doin’ another civil war, both sides buyin’ bullets, rockets, etc., etc.,… Kaching.
    Hey, take all the planes, trains, autos, and aircraft carriers down and fill ’em up. Kachingalingalingaling…..

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