For nearly a century powerful oil companies based in the U.S. and other Western countries have waged a continual struggle to maintain control over the vast energy resources of the Middle East. What Donald Trump did last night was only the latest in that continuing campaign.
He launched an unconstitutional and illegal attack on another sovereign nation, Syria. The president claimed the missile attack, unauthorized by Congress, was conducted in response to a chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians several days earlier.
We agree with Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee who declared right after the attack that it was an act of war and that Congress should come back from its latest spring vacation and do its duty – hold a debate. “Anything less,” Lee said, “is an abdication of our responsibility.”
Millions were justifiably horrified upon seeing pictures of children burned, gasping for breath, and dying after exposure to the chemical weapons. Trump moved fast to make those scenes Part I of a nicely scripted TV show. Part II was footage taken by the Pentagon itself last night of its launching, one by one, of 60 missiles from the deck of a warship off the coast of Syria. “Beautiful, awesome,” said MSNBC’s Brian Williams. Part III of the narrative came with a national appearance on TV by Caesar himself, Donald Trump, claiming victory by saying essentially, “Veni, vidi, vici” – I came I saw, I conquered.
Made for TV. Made for domestic consumption. Made to silence critics of his involvement with Russian oligarchs. Made to split and weaken the resistance to his policies. But most important, made to keep people ignorant of what is really going on in the Middle East – an endless deadly war for oil.
Trump’s show does nothing to explain this cause of the century-old and continually unfolding disaster in the Middle East. The deaths of those children last week were preceded by the deaths of millions of others in the never-ending war for oil. Thousands died in Mosul, Iraq in the weeks before the latest chemical attack. A half million died in Syria’s civil war before that and a million in Iraq before that. The war for oil claimed hundreds of thousands apiece in Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Egypt, Palestine, and other countries before it claimed the million in Iraq.
Mass killings of progressives, socialists, communists, secular liberals and others often followed the toppling of elected progressive governments and the replacement of them with U.S.-backed autocrats and dictators beholden to the big oil companies. All over the region it has left the people today with two awful choices: An autocratic murderous dictator or rule by dangerous religious fanatics. The progressive, left secular alternatives were always wiped out and today rebuilding them will be a difficult if not impossible task in some places.
There have been different approaches and tactics used to maintain control over the region’s oil resources. President Bush, for example, supported unilateral military action and regime change as he did in Iraq. President Obama eventually moved away from regime change and, along with allies, used carrot and stick diplomacy to alternately engage or punish certain countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt. Although the Obama approach allowed U.S. troops to come home and, with the help of Russia, yielded an Iran nuclear deal, its overall aim was the same – control over the oil resources of the region.
People from parties that disagree on all kinds of things often agree on the Mideast. Only a day before Trump attacked Syria, for example, Hillary Clinton said she would “take out Syrian airfields” if she were president.
Lack of understanding about the underlying cause of the mess in the Middle East – the war for oil – is unfortunately allowing some of the leaders and participants in the Resistance to Trump to fall into a trap he has set for them – a trap designed to split that very resistance itself.
Jumping on the war for oil bandwagon, New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer says it was the right thing to do. A joint statement by Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham, supposedly “reasonable” Republicans, congratulated Trump, essentially for “coming to his senses.”
“Building on this credible first step we must learn the lesson of history,” they said.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who in his role on the House Intelligence Committee has become almost a hero of the Resistance, said he backs the bombing and would work for congressional authorization of additional bombing.
On liberal MSNBC last night, guest after guest praised Trump for his “decisiveness.”
The People’s World, on the other hand, says there should be an end to the war for oil. Far too many have died in the Middle East for far too many decades and none of it has done any good for the vast majority of Americans, thousands of whom have also died fighting in that region.
The People’s World will never join the chorus of folks in the major media who think the main issues are when Trump will become “presidential,” and the status of the latest split in the White House. Our main concern, unlike the major media when it discusses the bombing, is not whether Ivanka and Jared hold sway or whether Bannon or Reince Priebus are calling the shots in the White House.
Our concern is exposing and stopping once and for all the endless war for oil. Our concern is to keep the resistance against the Trump agenda united. Our concern is how to take the trillions spent on the war for oil and divert it into meeting the needs of the American people.
All those in the West Wing care not an iota about this and are betraying the promises Trump made to the American people on jobs, healthcare, and everything else. All of them favor continuing the deadly Middle East strategy of control over that region’s resources by the fossil fuel moguls who back Trump.
We pledge to be a voice for all those who see through this deadly game and for all of those building the movement to end it, once and for all.