Monday, January 2, 2012

Playing With Fire

The headlines in America may read, "The last American comes home!" but it isn't true. In fact, there are tens of thousands of Americans still in Iraq, and they are being paid by the tax payer's dollars. When I heard the news that the Obama administration was finally ordering the Pentagon to get our military forces out of Iraq, I thought to myself, "Finally, Obama is doing what I elected him to do." About a second or two later I then thought, "Wait a minute, we aren't just leaving Iraq. Who is staying behind and dodging the American media radar?" With little investigation, and an open ear to some local progressive radio stations, I confirmed I was right. We are still in Iraq, and in more ways than one.

One of the first military objectives in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was to secure the oil wells. As a result, it isn't that surprising that Exxon and Shell have been in Iraq since 2003 establishing corporate bases of operation and increasing production of oil. Oil companies around the world have been itching to get their foot in the door of Iraq for decades, and thanks to the U.S. invasion into Iraq which changed the anti-corporate oil policy of Sadam Hussein through bombs and assassination, they are there to stay now. In addition to our corporate entities with their independent security forces, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and several consulates, still have 15,000 workers, and an army of 5,000 security contractors carrying automatic weapons, and flying helicopters. An additional support team of 4,500 contractors will perform menial tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and general pampering the security contractors are used to. Modern wars that America has engaged in has relied more, and more, on contractors, and not on volunteer military. For example, in Afghanistan 105,000 troops are supported by 101,000 civilian contractors.

In addition to the U.S. contractors stationed in Iraq to oversee the government in Iraq, the Obama administration recently has gave the nod to the United States Embassy in Iraq to tell the Office of Security Cooperation to purchase over $10 billion worth of F-16 fighter jets, M1A1 Tanks, cannons, APCs, and SUVs from American firms such as Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon. These devices are the same devices we had in Iraq before we pulled out, although the difference is that they are new. Many of us who keep our eye on the Military Industrial Complex in the United States, always say, "It's all about the money stupid", and this is why. The firms that produce these war machines need constant money coming in to maintain their operations, and coincidentally the American government always finds a new country to bomb, and invade, to satisfy their demand. This will be the fourth large flood of cash to the American war machine since our invasions started into Iraq more than two decades ago. The obvious conclusion one would draw from this decision is, "why did Obama do this?"

The reason why the weapons were sold was primarily about fueling the Military Industrial Complex, but it will also give Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki a weapon to prevent several Sunni provinces from declaring autonomy. Not long after the American troops pulled out of Iraq, Maliki clamped down on the Sunnis and stated that the country would be turned into "rivers of blood" if the Sunni provinces wanted autonomy. Giving him these weapons now is only going to embolden him to make good on his rhetoric. Another aspect of this arms sale is that it will solidify Iraq as a geo-political ally that depends on the United States, and will aid it in any local military conflicts it becomes involved in, i.e. Iran and Afghanistan. The end game with Iran is still unknown, but the indications are at the moment not positive.