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November 2004 • Vol 4, No. 10 •

Empire of Oil Forever?

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

“He who owns oil will own the world...who has oil has empire.”

—Henry Berenger, Commissioner General for Oil Products, France (WWI)

No matter which way this god-forsaken “election” goes, America’s imperial hunger for oil will continue. While the Republicans present a more bellicose face, the Democrats will certainly do the same thing, but perhaps with a smile.

That’s what makes this advertising war, about who’s tough, and who’s not, so utterly ridiculous. Both candidates will push imperial wars for American ‘natural resources’ (in other words, oil), because that’s what their financial backers demand.

The American economic machine began its industrial age with oil running those machines. Oil gave birth to the vast automotive industry, the resultant highway construction industry, the huge petrochemical industry, the explosion in plastics, and the fueling of America’s menacing military machine, which is being used to spark wars abroad, to protect U.S. control of oil.

One need not have been a history or political science major to see through the transparent justifications for the 2nd War on Iraq. It had nothing to do with “weapons of mass destruction,” nor to bring democracy—it was, and is, to control Iraq’s vast oilfields. And Iraqis, as well as millions of others in the region, know this—with a certainty that can only be matched by their assurance that the sun rises tomorrow.

In essence, the two corporate parties present a difference in degree; not in kind. But, thanks to the corporate media, this campaign will probably turn on the illusions of personality; on who smiles, who smirks, and who has a nice hairdo.

If Rome taught us anything, it’s that empire wears many faces.

Many Democrats look back to the Clinton administration with longing; but it, too, is the longing for illusions. For it was during the Clinton years that the Defense Dept. touched base with the armed forces of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, and began providing them with U.S. arms and training. The temporary U.S. military bases (the payoff for the arms and the training) became semi-permanent in the wake of 9-11, and it all came to be because those states ring the vast oil deposits near the Caspian Sea. In the words of a U.S. State Dept. report (2002), U.S. aid is intended to “improve U.S.-Kazakh military cooperation while establishing a U.S.-interoperable base along the oil-rich Caspian.”

That’s the backdoor reason for the invasion of Iraq.

Until America decides to get off the oil-pipe, it doesn’t matter who is, or isn’t elected. If they are part of either corporate party, they will swear fealty, not to the Constitution, but to the bottom lines of the oil companies.

That’s what makes this nonsense about the “war on terror,” or the “Iraqi liberation” so tragic. These are public relations sideshows, mounted by the political elite, projected by the media elite, on behalf of their economic elite, at the costs of billions of public dollars, and thousands of lives—so that oil can rule.

How can one “spread democracy” by ignoring democracy?

The largest anti-war demonstrations in American and world history did not deter this mad rush for black gold in Iraq. It did not stop this invasion erected on a bridge of lies.

Indeed, the American presidency was built upon the judicial theft of the election, and use of state power to intimidate, disenfranchise, and betray the votes of tens of thousands in Florida alone. Yeah...the Bush Regime really wants to “spread democracy!”

In oil’s name, the United States is immersed in a new kind of colonialism, for the resources that lie under foreign feet. They could care less about the people.

Therein lies an even greater tragedy.

—Copyright Mumia Abu-Jamal, October 17, 2004






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