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Blood and Oil

President George W. Bush stands with Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad of Maryland, who he has nominated as Ambassador to Afghanistan in the Oval Office Monday, Sept. 22, 2003. Dr. Khalilzad currently serves as Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan, a role he will retain after he is confirmed as Ambassador. White House photo by Eric Draper.

The question of what is driving the American military is haunting. To construct a cohesive scenario from the diverse, contradictory and fragmented information surrounding the present military action is challenging. The word that keeps popping up is - pipeline. If beneath the carnage there is nothing infinite or enduring – there is simply profit merging with national security - because powerful Christians need to hyphenate their profit motive so they can sleep at night – then the discourse takes a dramatic turn. It can then be said that the land needed for the flow of oil is soaked with blood. People are being killed not to protect us but to clear the runway. If this is “operation protected pipeline,” terrorism has been given another engine.

A new bit of evidence for a well-planned agenda for the pipeline came in the person of the special American envoy to Afghanistan - Zalmay Khalilzad who was an adviser for Unocal. He participated in talks between Unocal and the Taliban in 1997 when Unocal was planning the pipeline. He also headed the Bush/Cheney transition team for the defense department and advised Rumsfeld.

As the ticker tape below the pictures on TV tell us the score, the home team seems to be doing really well, even though rumors of greater American casualties filter their way to us through the internet. In the main, we are told that our guys and gals are killing the people who want to hurt us. We’re not changing their desire to hurt us, because that, we are told, is impossible. Al-Qaeda and Taliban are merging into a sub-specie of humanity and they are permanently damaged goods and need to be destroyed even though Rumsfeld assures us this is not a war of elimination. Even the question that it might be a war of elimination was distasteful to him – as if he bit into something sour when he heard the question. He advised the reporter asking the question that it was not “useful phraseology.”

Useful phraseology may be phrases like “drying up the swamp.” This might mean making sure that there is no one left in Afghanistan who might even consider damaging or interfering with a pipeline from central Asia which is the pot of gold for our present oiligarchy. But the belief that there are a finite number of persons who wish to do the pipeline and American citizens harm, and that they can be killed or contained is a belief that needs investigating. That number can grow as both blood and oil flow. Children there who are now eight or nine may look at their world ten years from now and may believe that violence is their only option. The American military is not telling them anything to the contrary.


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Could it be that the American military is protecting an investment that wears the cloak of national security, freedom and democracy? Is this tactic protecting us? Are American citizens now safer as a result of our military being used in this way? Or is this particular use of the military an addiction related to our addiction to oil and both addictions expose all of us to serious physical and spiritual health problems?

If September 11th was a heart attack should our response be to increase our addiction to what amounts to an extra pack and a half? And yet there we are. Blood and oil are soaking the landscape of beautiful foreign lands and polluting the air and integrity of our amazing country. The fuel itself and our addiction to it are both explosive. Blood is spilled so oil can flow. If that is the present equation beneath this noble war on terrorism then, as we are told we are winning, we are losing.

Ostensibly we are attacking the symptoms and as we do so we are worsening the conditions that caused the symptoms. The mounting numbers of “unfortunate unintended casualties” don’t spell victory – it spells more of the same. It does not, as Rumsfeld tries to tell us, “contribute to peace and stability in the region.” It contributes to something much darker despite how fabulous the war cartel looks on the cover of Vanity Fair. War and Destiny is the title of this issue. Yes – our airbrushed destiny is war, with these “folks” on the cover and their motives hidden in a scratch and sniff page buried in the glossy subterfuge of glamour.

The manifesto for pacifists and environmentalists and patriots should be that we must end our combustible blood-soaked addiction to oil. How long can we run our cars on gas that has the additive of foreign blood? That fuel is painfully flammable. What brought the World Trade Center down was not the strike but the fuel. As committed and devoted citizens of America and the world – we must press for cars that are not run by internal combustion engines – we must build homes that are heated in ways that do not require oil – we must lobby for smart efficient rail systems (When did it happen that only bombs are allowed to be smart?). We must produce the energy we need from the land on which we live using the resources that we can renew and harness. It’s that simple. We cannot use our military to press and oppress for the sake of oil. We cannot spill blood to insure what has been dubbed our national security. Our national security is based on our ingenuity and inventiveness not on our addiction. Let’s move the country with genius not with fire. And once we clear the air of our addiction to oil we may have a chance to see and perhaps cure our addiction to violence.

Bill C. Davis

Bill C. Davis

Bill C. Davis is a playwright.  Archive of his Common Dreams' articles here. His personal website here.

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