by Carl Lesnor
Even Alan Greenspan admits it, so it must be true! This is the definitive
proof that the Iraq war was really "about " oil. What about oil? Well, according
to Greenspan, Saddam H was thinking of blockading the Straits of Hormuz, so we
had to take him out. The Straits in question just happen to be at the other
end of the Persian Gulf and Iraq didn't have much of a navy and if it did, the
Persians wouldn't have been too happy about it, and besides, the US navy and
air force wouldn't have appreciated the idea very much either, and it's not
clear just what Saddam H was trying to accomplish, but never mind, Alan knew he
was thinking dangerous thoughts and therefore had to be eliminated.
Although this explanation make absolutely no sense, it has been seized upon
like manna from heaven by all the Leninists who have always known that the war
was 'about' oil. Don't think that Leninists are restricted to the fringes of
political discourse, they are all over the mainstream as well as the
opposition. Environmentalists tell us to give up our SUVs, even our cars, so we won't be
forced to fight these unpleasant wars abroad. The Left keeps denouncing the
government for maintaining its domination of mid-east oil supplies -- in other
words for exactly what the government claims to be doing: protecting America's
"vital interests" or "vital national security interests". (The meaningless of
these phrases is a great advantage to those who enjoy throwing them around.)
It's not enough to appeal to the American people's desire to make
sacrifices in order to bring democracy and freedom to unfortunate foreigners who
haven't enjoyed them. They must be told that there's something in it for them.
That we're going to make a lot of money out of this. That the money will insure
our prosperity, and that if we don't take decisive action, we would have to
give up all those creature comforts that make the American Way of Life so
attractive. The warmongers aren't in the least embarrassed by the revelation of the
selfishness lurking beneath their fine words; they are Leninists too. It's
practically unanimous, Vladimir Illyich's statues might have been pulled down,
but his doctrine has conquered the world.
A good example of his enduring influence is to be found on today's WSWS, a
Marxist-Leninist website that is often well informed, well written, and where
their sermon is usually limited to the final paragraph.
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/sep2007/unsw-s21.shtml (They have an
excellent article on the firing of Dan Rather, which I would highly recommend. (
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/sep2007/rath-s21.shtml ) It's because of
their site's general seriousness and high quality that it's worth analyzing what
they say about Greenspan.
At an educational meeting in Australia, Nick Breams, one of the Socialist leaders, discussing the 'underlying war-aims of the United States' referred to Greenspan's book in which the former Fed chief wrote: '“I’m saddened that it is politically
inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”
Expanding on this 'admission', Nick Beams,went on to say:
'The tensions and conflicts between the capitalist great powers were
developing along the lines of those that produced two world wars in the first half of
the twentieth century. Imagine for a moment a meeting such as this one, 100
years ago, in 1907. Political discussion would centre on the Moroccan
question, the Balkans question, the Bosnian question, the Eastern question... These
were various parts of the world, some of them somewhat remote, in which the
interests of the great powers and empires clashed—the interests of the British,
Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, Russia, France, and the rising power
“The colliding interests of the capitalist Great Powers led eventually to the eruption of world war in 1914. We have now entered into a new pre-war period. That is the meaning of the Iraq war and the threats against Iran.”
And what were the interests of the Great Powers that led to the eruption of
1914? The Eastern Question? The one that Bismarck had said wasn't worth the
bones of a Pomeranian grenadier? (He was referring to Bosnia-Herzegovina) The
Moroccan question, whose trivial economic importance paled in comparison to
questions of national prestige?
Rather than analyzing how these fights about political power and prestige
could be traced back to their origins in the problems of the expanded
reproduction of capital, Beams proudly asserts that the socialist movement 'stands on
the shoulders of giants.'
The giant he has in mind is Trotsky, who, he says, 'explained that the war
arose out of a contradictory process at the very heart of the capitalist
economy. On the one hand the vast developments of technology meant that the
productive forces had now expanded on a global scale. The world, he wrote, had become
one economic workshop, the different parts of which are inseparably connected
with each other. At the same time, however, the world was divided by the
capitalist great powers each of which sought to establish its predominance over the
others, leading to a collision.'
Now Trotsky was indeed a very intelligent man, but this is simply a re-hash
of Marxism 101. It doesn't explain anything about the origin of World War I.
Neither the assassination of Francis Ferdinand by a Serb terrorist who had the
support of the Russian secret services, nor Austria's desire to put an end to
what it saw as a threat to the integrity of its multi-national empire, nor
Russia's desire to escape its domestic political crises by assuming the role of
leader of the Slavs, had anything to do with any vast development of technology.
(The only thing the vast development of technology contributed was
industrialized slaughter, thanks to artillery, machine guns, and poison gas.)
The other giant Beam quotes is the great man himself, Lenin, who 'explained
that with the eruption of war, capitalism had entered a new historical era of
imperialist wars from which there was no way out, other than the overthrow of
the profit system itself.' This dogmatic assertion naturally appeals to those
who have other reasons for wanting to overthrow the profit system -- the
desire for greater equality or the claimed advantages of rational planning, for
example -- and uncritically welcome any argument they can use against the hated
Alas, this so-called scientific analysis is also a counsel of despair. Those
standing on the shoulders of giants might have illustrious forebears, but seem
bereft of followers and few prospects of attracting many. They are no doubt
sustained by a faith that the masses will one day come to see the truth of
their analysis. The problem isn't their faith in human reason; that seems
admirable; it is their allegiance to a doctrine that makes war -- and indeed all
politics -- the automatic consequence of contradictions in the mode of production.
Theirs is a politics in which politics doesn't matter. Is it any wonder that
Marxists -- even genuine ones -- have become an endangered species?