|Wrong address, please return to sender!
By Michael Moriarty
Alan Greenspan, head of the Federal Reserve, last week reminded us of the big bill coming due to pay for the war in Iraq. With inflation up 2.3%, interest rates bound to rise, a recession in the wind, and the midterm election campaigns less than a year away, the obvious question is, "Who is going to be sent the tax bill for the expansion of American Democracy in Iraq?"
Going to War to Keep Friends in Islam
Saddam Hussein, though not an immediate threat to the United States, had been a hovering menace over the Persian Gulf and world oil reserves. He certainly was high on the list of dictatorships to be dealt with. However, Saddam was clearly more of a threat to Saudi Arabia than any other nation; and if Iran showed the will to push Hussein's troops away from Tehran, why couldn't Saudi Arabia, with all the arms shipments from America in its arsenal, face off with Baghdad by itself? One might say, the Iraq/Iran War was too long and costly in lives and letting Iran do it alone hardly made her a friend of America.
However, hasn't the War in Iraq proven too costly in lives and American taxpayers' money when you consider the other possible oil reserves the United States could tap to feed its gargantuan appetite for the black gold? That's heretical thinking for a Bush supporter like myself, but it's amazing when the bill comes in how "realistic" Americans become.
I reread Robert Baer's explosive documented expose Sleeping with the Devil. According to the former CIA agent, William Clinton and George H.W. Bush kept a very close, inner circle relationship with the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia and its representatives. The Saudi Ambassador, Prince Bandar, was ubiquitous at Washington social events and in the private homes of the highest and mightiest. Prince Bandar was also given a first-priority stamp as a visitor to the White House by the Democratic and Republican administrations.
Not being an oil expert, I really couldn't say why both presidents have convinced the U.S. Government that Saudi Arabia should be the Don Corleone of OPEC. Its 20% contribution to America's oil imports is considerable and any loss of those oil fields could be a major dent in our "blood of victory," as oil is referred to in times of war. However, why should the U. S. Government's blatant refusal to explore alternate energy sources be compounded by a similar refusal to explore alternate oil supplies, like the Caspian Sea and Siberia? Why are so many of our eggs in the Saudi basket?
In addition, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are hardly models of constitutional monarchy. Admittedly, Islamic law makes democracy there almost impossible. How Iraq evolves into even a semblance of at least a two-party state remains to be seen.
President George W. Bush recently made friendly forays into Islamic Pakistan with arms offers, like the sale of F16s. Necessity can be the mother of new alliances. However, what is the necessity of making America a hired gun for an unfettered Saudi Royal Family whose unlimited indulgence in capitalist greed gives new meaning to "abuse of authority?" The House of Saud's royal insensitivity to its own people borders on the United Nation's criminal neglect of Rwanda, the Sudan and Kosovo.
The North American foreign policy of letting Red China be Red China works only from a consistently maintained distant respect. With Saudi diplomats on every Maryland golf course and at all the Beltway's cocktail parties, America begs for a Teddy Roosevelt to give some reminders to the U.S. and its Saudi friends about the two sins of all business: timidity and greed. With neither Saudi Arabia nor the Bush Administration the least bit timid, we still keep wondering who's going to pay for an increasingly expensive protection service afforded the Saudi co-hosts?
The Clinton/Bush Contract With America
The recent dual appearances of President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton, their photo-ops together in Indonesia and at the funeral of Pope John Paul II, might garner some world support for the experiment in Iraq. President Clinton's hand on the pulse of the Third World has made him a major candidate for Secretary General of the United Nations. That gift is only surpassed by his genius for knowing the exact political temperature of his own country. There is a simultaneously comforting and disturbing wake in the ability of those two families to play virtual volleyball with the Oval Office during three administrations.
One thing the two men share is a very tight friendship with Saudi Arabia, to the point of laying down American lives for its security. Those sacrifices having been made by the children of mainstream middle-class and working-class America, I hardly think the tax bill for our Bush/Clinton dependence on Saudi oil should be sent to America's taxpayers. Their obligation to pay for defending America should not include the bill for a Pentagon that was hired by a foreign country, some of whose children were instrumental in destroying the Twin Towers on 9/11.
Robert Baer's report on the billions being made out of the Iraq War by Bush-friendly conglomerates such as Carlyle and Haliburton presents a fully, wealthily endowed set of addresses to send the government friendly IRS to. However, I doubt that's part of the Clinton/Bush arrangement.
A Common Enemy: the American Bourgeoisie
"Gee, sorry I didn't give you that middle-class tax cut I promised."
That was sort of the way President Clinton apologized to the American Rainbow Family in his autobiography. After the American public's unanimous rejection of Hilary Clinton's efforts to turn America into Canada by mandating universal health care, I suspect the former Governor of Arkansas wasn't so sorry as secretly pleased with the left-wing justice of another broken promise to what, in his Rhodes scholar's eyes, amounts to the American Bourgeoisie. The very sound of the word "bourgeois" to the ears of a "progressive internationalist" like Bill Clinton might provoke his revolutionary intellect, in private of course, to spitting over his left shoulder three times. Even American multicultural artists stick their fingers down their throats at the mere mention of anything middle-class.
As for the Bush family's rather nouveau très riche partying with the Saudi Royal Family, this would lead America to believe that no matter which political party sits in the White House, the bill for the War in Iraq will be addressed by the Oval Office as remedied by a tax hike on the middle-class.
A New Newt Gingrich
I foresee some form of new Contract With America in the offing. Whether Newt Gingrich is prepared to storm Pennsylvania Avenue one more time seems highly unlikely. 9/11 will hover over anyone's efforts in the same way the Oklahoma City bombing shadowed any effort by the middle class to stem the tide of the Democratic Party's internationalist dreams, its responsibility to the UN's ultimate goal of a worldwide Socialist Federation.
The War Bill or Invoice should be made a seminal theme of the mid-term Congressional elections. Voters should ask their campaigning candidates who they think ought to be coughing up for a mildly obligatory war, out of which many Americans profited hugely. The co-hosts of this "Festival in Expanding American Democracy" invited the children of mainstream America to risk everything for it. I think the American Majority has already paid enough in lives and the loss of relatives, not to mention the increasing emotional stress of enduring a virulently growing anti-Americanism in the world at large.
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who has appeared in the landmark television series Law and Order, the mini-series Taken, the TV-movie The 4400 and Hitler Meets Christ, a surreal tragicomedy based on the actor's controversial New York stage play.
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