Lies, Culpability and Truth

It may be less than fine form to use my initial post as a means by which to point to another author, but it seems appropriate given the theme here at Lose the Noose. Also, given Lily's earlier mention of Jim Kunstler, I'm hoping I can get away with it relatively unscathed.

I've always been a raving fan of "culpability". It seems the elephant in the living room no matter what the subject matter, and is especially so in regard to Middle East conflict. While I consider myself a proud member of the choir that screams and raves about the Bush administration's criminal deceit, I have always thought that there's an element of shared responsibility that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are terribly willing to accept: that our gluttonous, insatiable appetite for petroleum has led us inevitably to Iraq. Yes, our current military and political woes are primarily about execution and unbridled incompetence, but the underlying truth is that we wouldn't be there at all if we weren't unrepentant oil junkies.

The environmentalist bloggers pour out pages and pages of eloquent and compelling articles on the crucial importance of alternative energy sources, the pacifists pour out their souls about the final futility of armed conflict, and the professional and armchair strategists alike churn out chapter and verse on party priorities and realignment, but so very few connect the dots anymore - at least publicly, in highly-trafficked forums.

Now, I don't doubt at all that the observations were made in abundance, at the outset of the invasion. After all, people have been screaming "No War for Oil!" for years. Perhaps the more dedicated "citizen journalists" amongst us have simply moved on, understandably distracted by the never-ending supply of unfathomable bullshit that pours from the White House and the RNC. Nevertheless, the message bears repeating again and again and again.

With this in mind, I was delighted to come across Jim Kunstler's pages, and this entry in particular:

If the American public could stand the truth, we would stop calling it the Iraq War and rename it the War to Save Suburbia. Of all the things that Bush and Cheney have said over the last six years, the one thing the Democratic opposition has not challenged is the statement that "the American way of life is not negotiable." They're just as invested in it as everybody else. The Democrats complain about the dark efforts by Bush and Cheney to cook up a rationale for the war. Guess what? The Democrats desperately need something to oppose besides the truth. If they would shut up about WMDs for five minutes and just take a good look around, they'd know exactly why this war started.

... You want truth, Progressive America? Here's the truth: the War to Save Suburbia entailed an unavoidable strategic military enterprise. Saving Suburbia required that the Middle East be pacified or at least stabilized, because two-thirds of the world's remaining oil is there (and in case you haven't figured this out by now, Suburbia runs on oil, and the oil has to be cheap or we couldn't afford to run it). The three main oil-producing countries in the Middle East, going from west-to-east are Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran. We had serious relationship problems with all of them at various times, and they with each other, leading at frequent intervals to a lot of instability in that region, and consequently trouble for us trying to run Suburbia on cheap oil (which they sold us in large quantities).

... So, as a card-carrying Democrat and as a Progressive who would like to see his country successfully adapt to the changing realities of the world, I propose we stop making ourselves ridiculous by whining about being lied to, because we've only been lying to ourselves. We walked into the War to Save Suburbia with, as the old saying goes, our eyes wide shut.

Do make a point of reading the entire piece, as Mr. Kunstler lays out a case more comprehensively than these snippets demonstrate. Suffice to say, I couldn't agree more. If we are to aim for any kind of real change, any measurable transformation, any legitimate progress in geopolitics, in resource consumption, in environmental stewardship, we MUST address our willing, reckless dependency on oil. There is simply no other option.


Polly Jones said...

This is a great post. You are doing a great job here in revealing the "big picture".

Cantankerous Bitch said...

Thanks, Polly. I'm flattered that Lily would invite me to contribute, and delighted she's carved out this space for these kinds of issues.

Lily said...

You're my kind of bitch! You know I love Kunstler (hence the obsessive adoration) and this post was like a present. This is the thing: we ARE addicted to our cars, our lifestyles, our choices as consumers. We cannot handle the inconvenience of cutting down, using less- because our primary goal in life is to increase our consumption. We buy progressively bigger homes, bigger cars, more stuff- and we invariably end up with far more than we need. Do we share it? No. We throw mom in a home, we hesitate to take in foster kids that might inconvenience us, we strive toward cruelty, is what we do.

Lily said...

In "True Blue" he writes:
"Instead of preparing the public for changing circumstances that will inexorably require different behavior on our part, our leaders are setting the public up to defend a way of living that can't continue for practical reasons. The question remains: are our leaders doing this out of cynicism or stupidity, or some other reason that is hard to determine?

Cynicism would mean that they know exactly what the score is with the global energy situation and our predicament in relation to it, and don't trust the public to deal with the truth."
What do you think accounts for the seemingly disproportionate reaction to such comments? We talk alot about Bushco and their "agenda". I used to think I knew a thing or two about it, from the Wolfowitz doctrine to weapons relations- I thought it was rooted in greed, selfishness and privilige. But certainly we can see that nobody will be immune to the inevitable perils- what are we to make of that?
I am more inclined to scratch my head and say our days are numbered...I am not prone to fits of hopelessness, but there is such a thing as a point of no return. And when there is little public outcry, what chance is there to make anyone accountable?

Anonymous said...

Truthout exposes yet another Halliburton scam, speaking of lies and culpability. Despite repeated overcharging and mismanagement, they were of course given the contract for Katrina cleanup efforts, where their subsidiary "hired hundreds of undocumented latino workers..only to mistreat them and throw them out without pay" The story is at the Truthout Website:

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