September 16, 2002

Using Iraqi oil as a "bargaining chip" – the War Party goes commercial

No wonder all those crunchy-granola kids hate capitalism, or think they do. Getta loada this from today's [September 15] Washington Post:

"Although senior Bush administration officials say they have not begun to focus on the issues involving oil and Iraq, American and foreign oil companies have already begun maneuvering for a stake in the country's huge proven reserves of 112 billion barrels of crude oil, the largest in the world outside Saudi Arabia."

Oh, they just can't wait to get their greedy little hands on all that oil, can they? Undeterred by even a modicum of decorum or subtlety, these pigs can hardly restrain themselves from smacking their fat greasy lips as Dubya revs up his death machine. Has a more unappetizing display of pure evil ever displayed itself so shamelessly? Tens of thousands of casualties, billions in tax dollars, an economic shock that could send the U.S. economy into a tailspin – and for what? So that Big Oil can reap what the Post refers to as a "bonanza." A U.S. invasion, we are told, would succeed in "scuttling oil deals" between Baghdad and Russia, France and other countries. The competitive advantages of this war openly touted by that tireless warmonger, former CIA director R. James Woolsey:

"France and Russia have oil companies and interests in Iraq. They should be told that if they are of assistance in moving Iraq toward decent government, we'll do the best we can to ensure that the new government and American companies work closely with them. If they throw in their lot with Saddam, it will be difficult to the point of impossible to persuade the new Iraqi government to work with them."

This is the real meaning of "multilateralism" – it's the equivalent of an international mugging. If you guys help me jump that Iraqi dude, we can divvy up the loot. It used to be that U.S. policymakers tried to mask their mercenary motives behind invocations of universal "human rights" and the worldwide spread of "democracy." Now they flaunt their avarice, as if it were a virtue. It's enough to raise the rotten corpse of Marxism from the grave, and give Bin Laden a propaganda boost.

Capitalism, naturally, will take the blame. It doesn't matter that this isn't free market economics, but mercantilism, a kind of crony capitalism with claws. The enemies of the market – the Bin Ladens and the Marxists – will cry, "See! I told you so!" As the U.S. holds up the prospect of loot as a lure to our allies, promising to cut them in on the deal, who besides the amoral Larry Kudlow can help but turn away in revulsion at the sight of these vultures? Circling over the not-yet-dead corpses of uncounted Iraqis and God-knows-how-many American soldiers, these ghouls are already drooling over the prospect of a delicious meal of blood and bone.

If, after reading Woolsey's comments, any of you want to go take a shower, then I'll just wait right here ….

Back so soon? Hey, I hate to send you back to the showers again, but this little snippet from the Post aticle is going to make you feel filthier than ever:

"Representatives of many foreign oil concerns have been meeting with leaders of the Iraqi opposition to make their case for a future stake and to sound them out about their intentions."

The U.S.-funded Iraqi "opposition" has already put their country up for sale, and is busy taking bids. While the Iraqi government is prevented from making any deals with competing oil companies in France, China, and elsewhere, the Iraqi National Congress is conducting its own auction:

"'We will review all these agreements, definitely,' said Faisal Qaragholi, a petroleum engineer who directs the London office of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an umbrella organization of opposition groups that is backed by the United States…. Ahmed Chalabi, the INC leader, went even further, saying he favored the creation of a U.S.-led consortium to develop Iraq's oil fields, which have deteriorated under more than a decade of sanctions. 'American companies will have a big shot at Iraqi oil,' Chalabi said."

Still under indictment in Jordan for embezzlement, Chalabi is the perfect embodiment of the new corruption U.S. policymakers envision taking hold in a post-invasion Middle East. In 1987, Chalabi hightailed it out of Jordan with millions stolen from Petra Bank, in which he had a controlling interest. He was tried in absentia, convicted, and slapped with a $46 million fine. Chalabi, for his part, denies the allegations, and ascribes his court conviction to Jordan's King Hussein, the pro-American Hashemite monarch, whom he claims is really a secret ally of Saddam Hussein. Uh huh. So I guess this means the Swiss government is also in Saddam's camp, since they acted before the Jordanians in seizing Chalabi's ill-gotten gains.

The crook Chalabi has been playing fast and loose with your tax dollars, too. According to this New York Times account, the U.S. is holding its nose as it holds up the INC as the future of Iraqi "democracy":

"The CIA, which played a major role in backing the INC from 1992 to 1996 when they both had headquarters in northern Iraq, has ongoing questions about how tens of millions of dollars in earlier funding were used, according to former intelligence agents who worked with the group…. 'There's still a black cloud over the INC because of the black hole that money seemed to go into,' a former intelligence official said. Because of past disputes over funds, as well as tactics and goals, the U.S. intelligence community is now loath to get involved with the group, he added."

The gang rape of Iraq is proceeding on schedule, with oil rights being used as "bargaining chips" to keep the other big powers (especially Russia and China) in line. The oil companies themselves can afford to be relatively discrete, since brazen rapists like Woolsey are willing to say openly what the corporate suits will only admit to "on background":

"Officials of several major firms said they were taking care to avoiding playing any role in the debate in Washington over how to proceed on Iraq. 'There's no real upside for American oil companies to take a very aggressive stance at this stage. There'll be plenty of time in the future,' said James Lucier, an oil analyst with Prudential Securities. But with the end of sanctions that likely would come with Hussein's ouster, companies such as ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco would almost assuredly play a role, industry officials said."

Pretty disgusting, eh? Yeah, it's getting pretty ugly out there. Speaking of which….

Stephen Schwartz's most recent upchuck has been splattered all over the pages of, the online magazine run by red diaper baby turned rightwing caricature David Horowitz. For those who don't know, Schwartz is an ex-Trotskyist-turned- neocon-turned-Muslim turned vehement anti-Muslim, fired from his position at the Voice of America for being a wacko. In a rambling polemic posted last Friday, Schwartz claims that events have vindicated his fulsome support for the Kosovo war, even as his Kosovar Albanian heroes ethnically cleanse the last Serbs from the former Yugoslav province. But the world just isn't ready for his perfect wisdom:

"Strangely, some of the same windbags and wiseacres who leapt to deny the existence of a serious crisis in Yugoslavia now wish to divert U.S. attention from Saudi reality – and to halt U.S. pressure on Iraq."

Included among this number are Lawrence Eagleburger and Brent Scowcroft, whom Schwartz describes as members of "the Belgrade mafia" – as if by talking to a foreign ruler, U.S. diplomats somehow acquire, by osmosis, the characteristics of their interlocutors. By this standard, the U.S. would maintain diplomatic relations with very few nations outside the West. But Schwartz is uninterested in such boring realities. His chief interest is in his rich fantasy life, much of which seems directed at trying to smear little old me:

"And of course, the 'Slobophile Heil' corner of the sewer, inhabited by lowlifes ranging from the Mickey Maoists of the International Action Center to neofascists a la Justin Raimondo, are still cheering for Slobo and Saddam alike. The most disreputable Jew-baiters among these repellent rodents have assailed David Horowitz, Ronald Radosh, and myself as ex-leftists who have supposedly become warmongers. But these parasites seem not to notice the logical disconnect: we were leftists decades ago, and have made up for our errors by fighting against dictatorships."

Instead of doing penance for his "errors,' Schwartz merely compounds them. After all these years, "ex-"-leftists like the former Comrade Sandalio are still screeching "fascist!" at their opponents, and making a spectacle out of themselves. Certainly the readers of Frontpage thought so – without any prompting from me, I might add. With his leftist instinct for the victimological main chance, Schwartz whines that I'm "Jew-baiting" him – but how does one "Jew-bait" a self-proclaimed Muslim? Or has the deluded fantasist who called himself "Suleyman Ahmad" undergone yet another miraculous conversion? What is it this time – Scientology? The Unification Church? A sex-change operation?

The idea that I "cheered for Slobo" or in any way impugned the integrity of Ronald Radosh is rubbish to anyone capable of following a link. But Schwartz is not content to just lie – he has to act out his perverted obsessions in public and in print. He once wrote me a poison pen letter that referred to "feces running down your mouth" (is this an ancient Bosnian epithet?) and his weird coprophilic fixation kicks in here, too:

"Our 'critics' are in bed with the skank left now, and actively defend dictatorships. If Raimondo – who not long ago expressed his regret that Japan lost the second world war – is ready to die for anyone, it's for Slobo and Saddam, alongside the 'white separatist' trash and the idolaters of Kim Il-sung. Welcome to the show: the Hitler-Stalin Pact, 60 years after. As the French surrealist poet Benjamin Péret reminded us in that context: dried blood turns from red to brown, the color of feces."

Never mind the "skank left" – take a gander at the toilet-mouth right! It takes the mind of a surrealist to comprehend what motivates this humorless nutball with a painfully obvious anal fixation. Babbling about white separatism and dying for Saddam – say what? – the man is all too obviously a raving lunatic! How he can pull a "neo-fascist" out of a libertarian hat is a mystery to any rational person, but then reason was never the voluble Schwartz's strong suit. Neither is humor. The irony of my remark that, but for an accident of history, American youth might now be studying the intricate beauties of flower-arranging and the Japanese tea ceremony instead of the pretentious profanities of Eminem, is naturally lost on a hateful narrow-minded ideologue of Schwartz's ilk.

With the publication of his new book, The Two Faces of Islam, Schwartz is in line to become the War Party's resident "expert" on Wahabism-as-evil-incarnate, but his complete lack of credibility may turn out to be a problem. If he ever writes an autobiography, a good title would be The Three (or Four) Faces of Stephen Schwartz, for this is the same Muslim warrior who once declared:

"We Muslims know that Allah permits us to take up the sword. We know that Allah permits us to fight the Jihad. That Allah permits us to fight the Jihad in Allah's way...As it says in the Quran: 'Never say of those who have died in Allah's way that they are not with us. They are with us even though you cannot see them."

Oh, we can see them alright – every time we contemplate that big hole in the ground of lower Manhattan. Perhaps Schwartz's devotion to the cause of jihad in Bosnia and Kosovo is another one of those "errors" he was telling us about, although I doubt he has the objectivity to admit it. But if he thinks that sliming me somehow makes up for allying himself with the spiritual and military allies of Osama Bin Laden, then his fez is on too tight.

Boy-oh-boy, it really is getting plug-ugly out there – check out this insufferably snide piece in the New York Times on the new magazine, The American Conservative, co-edited by Pat Buchanan, sometime columnist Scott McConnell, and Taki Theodoracopulos, the delightfully blithe spirit who writes for the [British] Spectator, and the New York Press, the Big Apple's most readable alternative paper. Describing Buchanan on the set of his new show with Bill Press, Times writer David Carr avers that Pat "shows a bit of fang while the camera is rolling, but it is shtick. His real enmity is reserved for his fellow conservatives."

And what's so wrong with that? After all, the enmity of some of his fellow conservatives has always been reserved for him. It was the two Bills of neocon-dom, Bennett and Kristol, who launched a vicious smear campaign against Buchanan, branding him a "fascist" (is it me, or has this overused epithet completely lost its meaning?). Carr would seem to concur, at least by implication, as he recites the full litany of Buchanan's sins against political correctness:

"Mr. Buchanan once called Martin Luther King Jr. 'immoral, evil and a demagogue,' described Congress as 'Israeli-occupied territory' and has suggested that gays are 'Hell-bent on Satanism and suicide.' His rhetoric has moderated somewhat over three runs for the presidency, but Mr. Buchanan still marches to his own martial music."

Martin Luther King was no saint, and no one disputes that Congress is a pushover for the powerful Israeli lobby. But what I want to know is how Pat found out about my Satanic practices (aside from what appears in this column, that is). Gee, and to think that he still let me make the first nominating speech on his behalf at the Reform Party's infamous Long Beach convention. What a guy! I guess he just wanted to make me feel special right before my scheduled suicide. Oh well, what are friends for?

God, but this piece reminded me of how narrowly parochial the New York Times can be, in spite of its vaunted internationalism, like an episode of Seinfeld seen for the tenth time. It may seem unfair that Carr only cited the most well-known of Pat's enemies, but indeed it seems he just consulted the conservatives down the block, the closest representatives of what is a rare – and rarified – species in New York City and environs. No wonder he came up with Bill Kristol and (guffaw!) Lucianne Goldberg. The former was particularly nasty, no doubt setting the tone for the barrage of Schwartzian invective to come:

"William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, says he believes that the inclusion of Mr. Theodoracopulos is a mistake. 'I am all for another magazine, but I think that the inclusion of Taki, who is a pretty loathsome character, will hurt their credibility,' he says."

For the faithless opportunist Kristol, who once touted Colin Powell for President and now vilifies him as an "appeaser," to call anyone "loathsome" is certainly a case of pot-kettle-black. That this is said by someone whose boss is Rupert Murdoch, a media tycoon who has elevated the principle of the lowest-common-denominator to a high art-form, is what they call New York nerve. No doubt Kristol and Co. plan on playing the ethnic victimology game, echoing the charge of the fanatically pro-Israel Lord Conrad Black (and publisher of the Spectator) that Taki's critique of Israel, expressed with his characteristic verve, is evidence of ethnic bigotry. Kristol and his friends (rightly) condemn Jesse Jackson when he tries to pull this kind of crap, but they play the same game very well themselves.

Speaking of New York verve (or is that nerve?), I can hardly believe Carr dragged out Lucianne Goldberg, whose 15 minutes of fame has long since faded, along with the greasy stains on an old blue dress. He naturally doesn't mention that Mama Goldberg's little boy, Jonah, is the Online Editor of National Review, TAC's chief competition. In any event, La Goldberg is quoted as follows:

"Amongst a certain group, Pat can do no wrong. He could appear nude, with Gloria Steinem with his hair on fire, and they would still love him."

Ya gotta love her – what imagery! But then she goes fuzzy, as if the downers have suddenly kicked in:

"'Still,' she says, 'We have reached critical mass with giving our opinions. I mean, how big is the conservative sponge?'"

Apparently, only as big as Lucy wants it to be. I'll leave it to my readers to figure out the significance of the sponge metaphor: perhaps an arcane pop culture reference to Spongebob Sqaurepants? For a long time Lucianne's website featured a photo that showed her wielding a long cigarette holder, a feather boa draped over her shoulder. I always wondered what it was she was smoking, and now I know….

Taki is right about Kristol's motivation: "Apparently, they're very worried about us." The utter dishonesty of Kristol's remarks shows just how frightened this little troll is that he'll, at last, have some real competition in the business of conservative factionalism. Carr quotes him as saying:

"Regardless of who is involved, Mr. Kristol is not sure that there is a big market in being a scold of the right. 'I think it is important for a magazine, any magazine, to try to say interesting things about the world,' Mr. Kristol says. 'I think a magazine would make a big mistake in saying that 'Our topic is another magazine.'"

If there is no market in being a "scold of the right," then certainly Kristol ought to know. It's only natural for a self-promoter of his sort to say that it's all about him. But for Carr to fall for this line that Buchanan's target is not a set of wrong ideas but a magazine is just too pat to be believed. The neoconservative tendency in American politics is far broader than the editorial board of The Weekly Standard, as any dolt can tell you. TAC's real competition, in terms of winning the circulation wars, is not Kristol's subsidized rag but National Review – a magazine long past its prime, and boring too boot, with a restless base of readers ready to bolt.

If you need a reason to subscribe to The American Conservative, then what about giving Bill Kristol heartburn? Now there's a worthy cause! Or how about the following:

"'We need to recapture the conservative movement,' [Buchanan] says, scrolling through the Drudge Report in his office at NBC in Washington after a taping session in late August. 'The movement has been hijacked and turned into a globalist, interventionist, open-borders ideology, which is not the conservative movement I grew up with.'"

You don't have to be a conservative (or, in my case, a libertarian with reactionary not to mention Satantic tendencies) to think that TAC is going to make the foreign policy debate a lot more interesting. Sign up to be a Charter Subscriber and get a discount good only until September 30. All the right people already hate it, and I just know TAC is going to be fun….

– Justin Raimondo

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.