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,
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
[President Bush] conveyed the same message in Idaho 
"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."
"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
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.
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