Heflores It's about executive control of the oil. Even Afghanistan is about exerting influence over oil. See New Humanist for an article about that. Or this article from the www.wsws.org]World Socialist Website[/url] and hosted by Centre for Research on Globalization. (Yes, both WSWS and CRG are somewhat leftist, but we might consider this 10.29.2001 editorial regarding Unocal and Afghanistan from the Oil and Gas International website. Or Unocal? (Note: Unocal would eventually withdraw from CENTGAS in 1998 for reasonable reasons.) As to Iraq--what would be better than not having to do a food-for-oil exchange? Perhaps having a puppet government in place to dictate the law American-style? With any luck we can appoint an Iraqi-American oil executive to be Maximum Proconsul. Or were we lucky to have an Afghani oil shill to appoint to the position? As an associate of mine noted of a recent John Le Carre editorial about the coming war, "Great. The oil connection. Thanks for trotting that one out for us again." Americans know this is about oil, that this is about being able to drive SUV's in cities, about style and not substance. We all know, but it's only a minority of us who wonder about it. Why is it, for instance, that the "nuclear" power we go after is the one with the oil, and not merely the one with a few million starving Koreans? One of my dark pleasures is the escalation of the Nepalese situation to include general threats toward Americans. Of course, we're now shipping weapons and offering other assistance to an atrocious monarchy against an atrocious insurgency, and this is a dubiously amusing development (I've been largely out of my news circles for about a month, and was surprised to see articles about shipments of M-16's to Nepal). I'm happy now in a perverse way; at least we're screwing up royally on the Nepalese front. Equal-opportunity botching, that's all I ask. See? I'm assuaging my own concerns about too much focus on petroleum. But when you take a look at American foreign policy in the Middle East, of course it's going to be about oil to some obnoxious degree. But think of it this way: hydrogen-driven automobiles have been whispered about for decades, and major automakers are showing their zero-emission vehicles at the major shows. With this technology drawing near, we're still sitting on American oil deposits because we want them for when everybody else is out of oil. Think about it--we're planning around the presupposition that we will still need that much petroleum in the future. I guess cars that run on a fraction of the gasoline (hydrogen fuel cells) and theoretically water don't need to be accounted for because there's more money in oil .... (yadda-yadda-yadda). Come on ... why not embrace alternative energy technologies, cut the petrol apron-strings altogether, and start dealing with the Middle East as a region filled with human beings instead of unfortunate obstacles to financial triumph? When you choose a paradigm that necessitates a "winner" and a "loser", conflict is the only guarantee. Think about it: In the United States, "Choose Life" is an anti-abortion slogan, and has nothing to do with choosing to find ways to get what we need without starving children to death. I reject that this war is in any way about Justice or the inhumanity of Saddam Hussein. After all, his butchery and imperial thirst were good enough for us when we forked over billions of dollars to support his little war with Iran. And why was it good enough then? Because Iran was run by a guy (Ayatollah Ruollah Khomeni) who overthrew the tyrant (Shah Reza Pahlavi) who built what was once the world's third-strongest army and also one of the most terrifying secret-police organizations (Savak) in the history of the world but would give Americans and Brits good prices on petroleum and wanted to blanch the cuture by "Westernizing". So Saddam's aggression and brutality was acceptable when it was intended to harass those who tampered with American petroleum dependence. Strangely, and just ask Don Rumsfeld, so also was the Taliban good enough when the US was recruiting Islamic militants to fight the Afghani war against the Soviet Union. In other words, repressive ideology and brutality were a good thing when aimed at the godless Communists. If Americans ever moved for just and proper cause, we would have stopped Pol Pot, would have conducted ourselves differently in Vietnam and Laos, would have acted against Balkan atrocities before we did, and sought before now a solution to the ongoing conflict 'twixt Israelis and Palestinians. If we acted with consistency, we would have bombed London by now for injustices in Ireland, and would be presently preparing invasions of North Korea, India, and Pakistan. If we acted with compassion, the Cold War would never have come about. And imagine that: a world in which Arab nations have not been undermined by the Cold War, in which Latin America was not a microdrama and, well ... I still don't know what to do about Africa. Sure there's my usual water and electricity pitch, but it's beside the point. But Americans, by supporting tyrants in Africa, have assisted in causing much human misery. If we acted with intelligence, we wouldn't be tied up in a holy war in which yer either wit' us or agin' us. This is a petrol and culture war. Or so says my two cents. That's the thing--most of us know it's about petroleum, but what I can't figure out for the life of me is why so few Americans care. It's literally as if Americans are saying, "It is our wish to bequeath to our children dirty air, poisonous water, and a world filled with hatred and violence." I can't figure the reason for it. I can't figure out what it is we gain this way. I thank you for a wonderful springboard, but since I've so hastily attached that to my soapbox, I'd best get off it before it collapses. Peace is within human capability. It just doesn't fit well on a ledger sheet when we presuppose the necessity of winners and losers. thanx, Tiassa Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!