Failure of Bush Agenda,

A Better Agenda

excerpted from the book

The Bush Agenda

Invading the World, One Economy at a Time

by Antonia Juhasz

HarperCollins, 2006, paper


Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaeda, August 4, 20051
Our message is clear: you will not be safe until you withdraw from our land, stop stealing our oil and wealth and stop supporting the corrupt rulers.

President George W Bush, October 6, 20052
We're not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed .... No act of ours invited the rage of the killers-and no concession, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder .... We will never back down, never give in, and never accept anything less than complete victory.

On March 17, 2003, Sean O'Neill and his Marine battalion we preparing to cross from Kuwait into Iraq in the first offensive of the Iraq war. From the top of a tank, Sean's regimental commander bellowed to his troops: "We are going to do this to make America safe. Saddam's going to kill Americans if we don't stop him!"

After crossing into Iraq, Sean's first order was to guard an oil facility. That was his first clue that this war was not only about defending America, and it was all downhill from there. Believe me, Sean told me later. "Every Marine wanted to be the guy who found Hussein's WMDs." Once in Iraq, Sean personally searched chicken coops and pigpens looking for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction: "We looked everywhere. But none of us found any. Turns out there weren't any to be found." In the end, it was all "a cruel hoax..."

Of the many lies told by the members of the Bush administration to lure these men and women to war and to justify the death of the innocent, the one that may ultimately have the most far-reaching and devastating effect on us all is: "We are going to do this to make America safe' The only thing that the war effort has made definitively safer is U.S. corporate access to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Bahrain, and Oman, while the rest of the Middle East races to open its doors. U.S. oil company interests have been particularly well secured in this process. But beyond the administration's promise of making America safer, is the much grander and oft-repeated promise to make the whole world safer. It is the ultimate lie of Pax Americana: World peace will prevail as long as the United States can spread its military and economic dominance without impediment.

The truth is that we are less safe as a result of the Bush Agenda whether "we" are Americans, Iraqis, Turks, Indians, or people from any other corner of the globe. As the Bush administration flexed its imperial muscle, the world may have initially shrunk back in terror, but it has increasingly fought back in anger. Terrorism against the United States and its allies did not originate during the presidency of George W. Bush, but his administration's policies of imperial expansion and corporate globalization have served both to intensify and increase it.

In Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror, Michael Scheuer, a twenty-two year veteran of the CIA, who served as the agency's lead pert on al-Qaeda for four years, argues that under the Bush administration, "U.S. forces and policies are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world, something Osama bin Laden has been trying to do with substantial but incomplete success since the early 1990s. As a result, I think it fair to conclude that the United States of America remains bin Laden's only indispensable ally."

The Bush administration has succeeded in simply shifting the primary terrorist training ground from Afghanistan to Iraq while increasing the factors that are known to motivate more people to adopt terrorist activities.

[President Bush] conveyed the same message in Idaho [2005]
"Our enemies murder because they despise our freedom and our way of life. See, they're coming into Iraq because 'they fear the march of freedom."

Defense Science Board study of Muslim attitudes toward the United States in 2004.
American direct intervention in the Muslim world has paradoxically elevated the stature of, and support for, radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single digits in some Arab societies .... In the eyes of Muslims, the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. U.S. actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve America national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self-determination.

Defense Science Board study of Muslim attitudes toward the United States in 2004.
... Americans are convinced that the U.S. is a benevolent "superpower" that elevates values emphasizing freedom deep down we assume that everyone should naturally support our policies. Yet the world of Islam-by overwhelming majorities at this time-sees things differently. Muslims see American policies as inimical to their values, American rhetoric about freedom and democracy as hypocritical and American actions as deeply threatening.

2000 CIA report
The rising tide of the global economy will create many economic winners, but it will not lift all boats .... [It will] spawn conflicts at home < and abroad, ensuring an even wider gap between regional winners and losers than exists today ... Regions, countries, and groups feeling left behind will face deepening economic stagnation, political instability, and cultural alienation. They will foster political, ethnic, ideological, and religious extremism, along with the violence that often accompanies it."

CIA 2005 report
"... the benefits of globalization won't be global .... And large pockets of poverty will persist even in 'winner' countries .... The gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' will widen .... Globalization will profoundly shake up the status quo-generating enormous economic, cultural, and consequently political convulsions.... The key factors that spawned international terrorism show no signs of abating over the next fifteen years."

Michael Scheuer
"Bin Laden has been precise in telling America the reasons he is waging war on us. None of the reasons have anything to do with our freedom, liberty, and democracy, but have everything to do with U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world."

Rebecca Solnit, 'Hope in the Dark''
There will always be cruelty, always be violence, always be destruction .... We cannot eliminate all devastation for all time, but we can reduce it, outlaw it, undermine its sources and foundations: these are victories.

The Bush Agenda will not simply disappear, however, with the end of the Bush presidency in 2008, nor can we afford to wait that long for a new direction. The Agenda predates Bush and its adherents certainly hope it will outlast him. It is the work of some of the country's most durable politicians, including Dick Cheney, Zalmay Khalilzad, Eric Edelman, Robert Zoellick, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, and Condoleezza Rice. It is also supported by current and former executives at the world's most powerful corporations, including Bechtel, Chevron, Halliburton, and Lockheed Martin. None of these power brokers are eager to give up the wealth and influence that the Bush Agenda accords them. The Agenda itself, not simply the president, must therefore be replaced.

To replace the Bush Agenda, we must address each of its key pillars individually ...

Corporate globalization is a set of policies designed to reduce the ability of local communities and governments to set the rules by which foreign companies operate in their areas. The alternatives, therefore, are tools that allow local communities and governments to set the terms by which companies (both foreign and local) operate in their midst, in order to ensure that the companies serve the public interest. Far from being a new idea, this was in fact the guiding principal of international trade, investment, and corporate law until Reagan and Thatcher introduced corporate globalization policies ...

The United Nations, particularly its Security Council, needs reform. It needs to be "de-corporatized" with more financial resources, greater public attention, greater transparency, more democracy, and more influence. Yet it remains the institution with the broadest mandate and, despite its considerable flaws, is more open and democratic than any of the Bretton Woods organizations. In practice, it has given much greater weight to human, social, and environmental priorities. Where international trade and investment rules must be written, a reformed United Nations is the place to do it.

Owning Iraq's Oil

To the adherents of the Bush Agenda, Iraq is truly an oil bonanza in waiting. It is the nation with at least the second largest oil reserves in the world and quite possibly the largest. The oil is right below the surface and bursting at the seams. It is cheap to produce, yet highly valuable to sell. Of Iraq's eighty known oil fields, only seventeen have even begun to be developed. Gaining control of that oil serves several interests. It serves the interests of oil and energy services corporations that both support and comprise the Bush administration, as well as the administration's goals of imperial power and global dominance: whoever controls the oil can deny it to those who do not and dictate the terms on which they receive it. A friendly government in Iraq granting access to its oil provides a support mechanism for the administration's regional interests, including the protection of Israel. And Iraq's oil offers literally trillions of dollars in raw profit.

It should come as little surprise that the Bush administration has spent more than four years trying to gain control of Iraq's oil. The Bremer Orders laid the groundwork for a corporate-friendly haven in Iraq. At the same time, the Bush administration and its oil company cohorts have worked toward the passage of a new oil law for Iraq that would turn its nationalized oil system over to private foreign corporate control. On January 18,2007, the administration's plans came one step closer to fruition when an Iraqi negotiating committee of national and regional leaders approved a new hydrocarbon law. One month later, the law passed Iraq's cabinet and then moved to the Parliament. As I write, the Parliament is preparing to take up consideration of the law.

The law would represent an unqualified victory for U.S. oil companies. It would transform Iraq from a nationalized oil system all-but-closed to U.S. oil companies, into a commercial industry, all-but-privatized and open to U.S. corporate control.

The Iraq National Oil Company would only have exclusive control of Iraq's seventeen developed fields, leaving two-thirds of Iraq's known fields and all of its as-of-yet undiscovered fields open to foreign control. As under the Bremer Orders, U.S. (and all foreign) companies would not have to invest their earnings in the Iraqi economy, partner with Iraqi companies, hire Iraqi workers, or share new technologies. They could even ride out Iraq's current instability by signing contracts now, while the Iraqi government is at its weakest, and then wait at least two years before even setting foot in Iraq, leaving its oil under the ground when it is most needed to service Iraq's economic development.

The foreign companies will also be offered some of the most corporate-friendly contract terms in the world. The draft law proposes that Iraq use Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs)-the oil industry's preferred model-which grant long-term contracts (twenty to thirty-five years in the case of Iraq), and greater control, ownership, and profits to the companies than other models. The law grants foreign oil companies "national treatment' which means that the Iraqi government cannot give preference to Iraqi oil companies (whether public or privately owned) over foreign-owned companies when it chooses with whom to sign contracts. This provision alone will severely cripple the government's ability to ensure that Iraqis gain as much economic benefit as possible from their oil.

Most Iraqis remain in the dark about the new oil law. Iraq's oil I workers had to travel to Jordan to learn details of the law from the London-based research organization Platform. As a result of the briefing, Iraq's five trade union federations, representing hundreds of thousands of workers, released a public statement rejecting "the handing of control over oil to foreign companies, whose aim is to make big profits at the expense of the Iraqi people, and to rob the national wealth, according to long-term, unfair contracts, that undermine the sovereignty of the state and the dignity of the Iraqi people."' They demanded a delay in consideration of any law until all Iraqis could be included in the discussion.

If the law passes, oil corporations will then sign contracts with the Iraqi government. The corporations that appear first in line are ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Marathon, Shell, and BP. All of these companies will then need to get to work, but they will require a certain level of security to do so. What better security force is there than 150,000 American soldiers? This oil timeline now dictates the conclusion of the war-at least from the perspective of the Bush administration. It holds our soldiers and the Iraqi people hostage to the Bush Agenda.

... the World Trade Organization negotiations launched in Doha are all but over, with nations unable to agree on any of the key negotiating topics. Most believe the end of the Doha Round is sounding the death knell for the WTO as an institution. One reason for its demise is the increasing number of developing countries whose leaders are now opposed to corporate globalization.

Meanwhile, the IMF and World Bank are being increasingly sidelined with countries refusing to repay loans, take new ones, or make their contributions to the institutions.

... the Bush administration has not given up on its agenda of corporate globalization, imperialism, and war. But political realities are forcing it to hone its ambitions. Controlling oil tops the list now and doing so will require the continuation of one war and quite possibly the start of another. Nor will the adherents of the Bush Agenda stop their pursuit simply because President Bush is disempowered or leaving office; after all, many are still "winning." According to their respective annual reports, in 2006, Chevron's $17 billion in profits were 22 percent higher than in 2005; Lockheed Martin's shares jumped an astounding 43 percent in value; and Bechtel's profits, while not yet posted, are following the same trajectory. For its part, ExxonMobil, for the third straight year, broke its own record and earned the highest profits of any corporation in world history-this time with nearly $40 billion in pure profit. The corporations are not going to stop trying to use this unparalleled wealth to purchase officials to do their bidding and policies to serve their interests.

The Bush Agenda

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