Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

July 7, 2008

Naomi Klein: The Greatest Stick-Up in History

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — codesmithy @ 7:55 am

Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism has an article over at the Guardian “Big Oil’s Iraq deals are the greatest stick-up in history.”

The presumed argument that Klein is going against is the following:  the United States has spent a lot of money on Iraq.  The long-term costs of the war are likely to top 3 trillion dollars according to Nobel laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes.  The United States overthrew the government of Iraq for great cost in terms of blood and treasure, American tax-payers deserve to get something back, namely cheaper gas.

One can see this dynamic play out in comparing and contrasting how Democracy Now! covers the oil contracts versus MSNBC.

I don’t know precisely where this cheaper gas narrative comes from.  Even if Iraq started pumping more oil into the world market, it is not clear how much the price of gas would drop.  No doubt it would be quite a boon for the oil companies as Klein points out: “Iraq is being forced to sell 75% of its national patrimony to pay the bills for its own illegal invasion and occupation.”  Less money for the Iraqi people is more money for the oil companies. However, a significant chunk of the gas price increases were due to increasing demand of emerging markets and devaluation of the dollar due to trade deficits and debt.  The benefit is for those who control the oil fields, not for those who buy the gas.  Acting as if there is a shared interest between for-profit corporations and their consumers is, at its heart, disingenuous.   It likens us to dogs who cheer on the fortunes of our masters for the hope that the plenty will improve the quality and quantity of our table scraps.  We are not dogs; we are oil junkies.  Oil companies are the dealers that feed our habit.

Do we deserve a medal?  Some type of award for our ability to uncritically accept all the comfortable lies we are constantly told?  Abu Ghraib was the result of a few bad apples.  The purpose of the Iraq War was to disarm Saddam Hussein because he poised an imminent threat and to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East.  This is not something to be critically considered, it is something to be laughed in the sincere hope that these lies will die of embarrassment because no one can take them seriously.  The problem with America is its inability to recognize a good joke.

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