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(en) UK Solidarity Federation - DA #27 - Evil Empire (http://www.solfed.org.uk/)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 17 Jun 2003 19:17:29 +0200 (CEST)


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I guess Chomsky, and maybe most of us, might think of the phrase
‘Evil Empires’ as needlessly lengthy - since every empire is evil.
In fact, Chomsky has quite a bit to say about empires and imperialism,
much of it head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of clarity
and content (for a choice interview, look no further than p.20, for more,
dig into the reviews section).
Other subjects that seem to come up a lot when empires are
mentioned include wars and oil. The official US line has started to call
the Iraq invasion a battle instead of a war now, but this doesn't
stop everyone knowing what it really was. After all, we have 2,000
years of empire building in our history to look at (for the 5-minute
version, see p.6).

Oil has only more recently become tied to empire, in fact, since the
First World War. But is oil behind the slaughter of Iraq? As Margaret
Atwood said, "Never believe anything until it’s officially denied".

Oil is currently key to capitalism, and the US state is all about
mollycoddling the capitalist wild-child, so it doesn’t take a genius
to work out that wars (or battles) for oil are seen as crucial, if you
look at the world through White House windows. The trick is to create
a system whereby every war for oil also benefits the bank balance and
preferably, at the same time, crushes the baddies and helps win a
second term too (The spOILS of war, p.18).

In Europe, without the military might, the best chance is to start
thinking about alternative technologies, to avoid the oilfield
battlefields (How green is my biofuel?, p.4). With any luck, this means
that by the time things are looking hairy around the last few oil wells,
we will be in renewable fuel-run utopia. That is, if US-induced global
climate change hasn’t screwed everything by then.

Talking of the weather, all spring, the world’s mainstream media
and the SWP (p.10) were obsessed with the war to the exclusion of
everything else (except the elections/SWP membership – p.12).
Well, the news is that people kept being bullied at work, the
government sneaked out more measures to give us crap education,
privatised health and identity card futures, and 14 UK construction
workers were killed in 6 weeks in April/May, the youngest being a
17-year-old (p.8). South American turmoil, reported in previous DAs,
continues (p.16). People are still locked up and being murdered by the
US prison system, and people are still locked up in sweatshops across
the developing world making clothes and trinkets for western,
Nike-obsessed punters, desperate for an answer or a shopping fix
(p.13). But, the un-news these past months has not all been bad news.
In India, 60 million – yes, 60 million people went on strike against
privatisation (p.11).

As McDonalds Workers’ Resistance said, "we don’t take
shit, we make it" – this ironically also sums up the US State’s
attitude towards the rest of the world. Hence, we can now reveal
Bush’s notepad on the page entitled "war plan Iraq": "bomb them,
maximise looting and destruction, install puppets, lift sanctions, sell
Iraqi oil, use cash to pay US firms to rebuild the damage we done"
(OK, he had help with the spelling). "We don’t do body counts",
said General Tommy Franks, Head of US Central Command.
Unfortunately, he forgot that other people can count above their
fingers and toes. By one measure of violence against noncombatants,
as compared with resistance faced by soldiers, the war in Iraq was
particularly brutal. In ‘Operation Just Cause’, the 1989 US
invasion of Panama, 13 Panamanian civilians died for every US
military fatality. If, as is currently estimated, 10,000 Iraqi civilians died
in the latest war, that proportion would be 66 to 1.

Misery for some means brisk business for others. Amidst jittery stock
markets, Lockheed Martin have done pretty well out of the war, in
fact, they have done pretty well since winning "the largest defence
contract in history", a $200 billion development contract to build a
Joint Strike Fighter, which aims to "provide the U.S. Air Force, Navy
and Marine Corps, and the UK’s Royal Navy and Royal Air Force
with an affordable and stealthy tactical aircraft for the 21st century" -
one capable of killing thousands of civilians who happen to live in
‘rogue states’, no doubt.

Back home in blighty, we are still stuck with an evangelical in charge,
with the same maniacal grin and more-than-ever self-obsession with
finding his ‘place in history’. He is no longer interested in mere
domestic issues; he has it all worked out at home – Thatcher was
right, right down to her education plans (A lower class degree, p.22).
Fame is what drives him these days – now we know why he likes
rubbing shoulders with popstars, he just wants to be loved and, if
10,000 innocent Iraqi’s have to die for it, so be it. In fact, he is
getting a bit annoyed with all these godless do-gooders whinging on.
He was going to end a wartime address to the nation with the words
"God bless you", but was eventually dissuaded by an aide. After an
off-the-cuff remark about a "most ungodly lot", he made do with one of
those anodyne "thank yous" – just like his fave celeb accepting the
latest twat-award would’ve done.

Welcome to evil empires.

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