The Rational Unreason of Imperial War

Ron Jacobs

It certainly is a fine mess the warmaking establishment has gotten the US into. From the Middle East and South Asia to Europe, war and threats of war are once again the stuff of the daily news.  Inflamed by warmongers in the media who would put William Randolph Hearst to shame and fostered by a legislature beholden to the gods of war and their corporate minions here on earth, the present situation is dismal at best.

I’m not one to disparage the potential and real violence of the entity calling itself the Islamic State.  Then again, I am also not one to call for the unleashing of violence by the entity calling itself the United States.  As the entire world knows, it is due in large part to the latter’s violence that we are where we are today–in Iraq and elsewhere.

Those champions of US military violence who insist on its innate humanitarianism also want us to believe that the violence is undertaken with no economic or hegemonic designs real or implied. Of course, this is nonsense. Powerful states do not intentionally act against their own interests, especially when it comes to military intervention.

Instead of humanitarianism, one should always consider power and money when it comes to the machinations of empire.  In the case of the IS and Iraq, there is still a lot of oil in those sands, not to mention the strategic importance to Washington of keeping Iraq more or less whole and more or less willing to go along with Washington’s plans.

An Islamic State unfriendly to the West that controlled Iraq’s oil would not be a positive scenario for Washington and its corporate sponsors. Although, given the natural greed of capital (especially in the energy sector), one can speculate how long it would be after an IS seizure of the oilfields that big oil would be trying to make some kind of deal. After all, murderous authoritarian governments have never stopped the energy corporations from negotiating for those governments’ resources before.

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