Gray Panthers of San Francisco
November 2007 Newsletter

Selling Wars and Privatizing Countries


It began with selling the “Indian Wars” to expand territory and drive Native Americans from the land to manifest US destiny. The Monroe Doctrine signaled other empires that the US considered Latin America our market place. And, between 1798 and 1895, over 100 US “interventions” took place around the globe: in Nicaragua, Okinawa, China, Angola, Hawaii, Cuba. Dressed up as patriotism, our government uses “incidents,” from the mysterious explosion destroying the battleship Maine in Cuba’s Havana harbor to create fervor for the Spanish-American war, to 9/11 as raison d’etre for invading Iraq.

But the Bush administration has taken war propaganda to justify invasions and privatization to unbelievable heights of arrogance, resulting in what can legally be called war crimes. Iraqi oil union leader Hacene Djemam delineated US strategy in Iraq: “War makes privatization easy: first you destroy society, then you let corporations rebuild it.”

As Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, Paul Bremer established the basis for privatizing Iraq by issuing 100 edicts (orders). Among his actions were outlawing collective bargaining, barring unions in the public sector and seizing union funds. Bremer posted lists in Baghdad newspapers of the public sectors organizations he intended to auction off. He banned 30,000 Baath Party officials, including doctors, from government jobs; dissolved the army and the information ministry, leaving 400,000 Iraqis out of work without any pensions or new jobs. How else then except with privatization by US corporations was reconstruction of the country to happen? Except Iraq has not been reconstructed. Most of the funds to do so have disappeared into Halliburton contracts, Blackwater’s financial security, and the mysterious disappearance of 360 tons of cash shipped to Iraq and unaccounted for, including $8.8 billion which “vanished” under Bremer’s watch.

Now, the lies are laying the groundwork for war on Iran. Congress designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as terrorists. The US claims Iran is close to developing nuclear weapons, yet UN officials have found no proof. It’s WMDs all over again.

Read papers on the economic basis for war, written by our War and Peace committee, The Almighty Dollar: Is it Still Mighty and Gunboar Democracy, with a large reference list with links.

Download Zoltan Grossman's PowerPoint "A People's Geography of American Empire," source of the map above showing placement of US military bases to control sources and transport of oil.

(back to November 2007 Newsletter front page)