A Voice In The Crowd: Blood for oil

July 1, 1993

A Voice In The Crowd: Blood for oil

By Jim Spelman

Does the possibility of an unprovoked U.S. attack on Iraq disturb or frighten you? It does me! It appalls Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa, who warned in a recent speech that Bush is, “…introducing chaos in international affairs.”

The possibility that this country might violate its own legal and moral ethic that one doesn’t strike until stricken is reminiscent of Hitler’s unprovoked assaults in Europe in the late 1930s. He was the one who said, “Strength lies not in defense but in attack.” And attack he did!

Since Bush began his saber rattling some months ago, I’ve had and made opportunities to discuss his fulminations with men and women of varied national, ethnic, religious, political and economic backgrounds. Every one, including many from this country, with whom I’ve discussed the possibility of American aggression toward Iraq, has emphatically opposed it.

A couple of Sundays ago the Sun-Times ran a piece featuring letters written by and between Harry Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt. As I read through them, I had to ask myself, “What would those two say now?”

In a missive written in May 1951, Mrs. Roosevelt, having attended a U.N. General Assembly meeting and there gained some insights into European post-war sentiments, observed, “They (Europeans) are fearful (among other things): That our main interest is in power and gain for ourselves.”

Having, myself, just returned from three months in Europe where I was able to discuss world relationships with people from a variety of backgrounds, I can say with reasonable certainty that Mrs. Roosevelt’s conclusion is as valid today as it was more than fifty years ago. The power and gain that Bush and his cronies are interested in is access to the vast reserves of precious oil upon which Iraq and its nefarious leader are perched.

The threat of an unprecedented, unprovoked U.S. invasion of another sovereign nation cannot be brushed away as idle talk. The boys in Washington are dead serious. It’s my wish that they listen to the more circumspect and farsighted leaders who advise against unilateral aggression. Those men and women wisely urge joint deliberation and cooperation between the U.S. and the rest of the world before any action is taken against Hussein.

Heedlessly however, within the past two weeks, Dick Cheney, was thumping for support of the administration’s campaign to rid the world of Iraq’s despot with American bombs and guns. On his tour he made two speeches in which he referred to “our allies”. What allies? We have no allies. Our leaders’ political ignorance and arrogance has apparently prevented them from considering the message the rest of the world is sending! It doesn’t want war or its consequences. Nor do millions of folks here in the U.S.

Read what Colin Powell (the only rational mind on Bush’s staff) said in an interview with BBC reporters last week. While Dick Cheney was speechifying to veterans here that weapons inspections would be counterproductive, Powell was telling the Brits:

“Iraq has been in violation of these many UN resolutions

for most of the last eleven years. So as a first step, let’s see what the inspectors find . . .” It looks like the only ones supporting Bush’s bellicose position are his toadies and, of course, the leaders of the military-industrial complex.

Speaking of which, Dwight D. Eisenhower (the last good and decent Republican president), after years of experience leading his troops into war and his country into peace, said to the nation on January 17, 1961:

In the councils of government, we must guard

against the acquisition of unwanted influence,

whether sought or unsought, by the military-

industrial complex. The potential for the

disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and

will persist. (Emphasis mine)

Ouch!! Folks, it’s no longer a potential disaster, it’s happened. The power, which used to belong to us, the people, has been grabbed by some politicians and a few industrial and corporate moguls. If we don’t take steps to restore our power and take back our government, fascism, the disaster contemplated by President Eisenhower more than forty years ago, will overcome the land of the free.

Ask yourself, “ Who really runs this country?” Then answer yourself honestly. We the people, for and by whom the government was established, have been lulled into complacency by affluence. As a result, we have abdicated our rights and privileges as citizens of this great nation to a few greedy men and women—POLs, CEOs, CFOs, CPAs, and others who, solely for their own enrichment, secretly buy legislation, candidates, votes and elections. They also release a great deal of propaganda, a form of lying, which has become a major news source for our media.

Harry Truman once said, “Secrecy and a free democratic government don’t mix.” He was absolutely right! We do not live in a democracy anymore! We have given it away by tolerating the secrecy and chicanery of some our business and political leaders.

We can no longer sit back and take for granted the freedom and material wealth living here has made available to us. Retention of those things requires responsibility and action on our part.

To begin to take back our power, we must, together, make our voices heard. We must speak our ideals to anyone with whom we converse. We must write letters to editors and to our senators and representatives. We must work for candidates of our choice and above all—we must register to vote and then vote in each and every election. It’s a right—if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!

Jim Spelman is a local attorney.

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