[Marxism] Seizing Destiny for U.S. Capital By Bonnie Weinstein
giobon at comcast.net
Thu Nov 22 10:50:35 MST 2007
Seizing Destiny for U.S. Capital
By Bonnie Weinstein
An article appeared in The New York Times on September 13, 2007, entitled
³Compromise on Oil Law in Iraq Seems to Be Collapsing,² by James Glanz. This
piece could have been a chapter in the book Seizing Destiny: How America
Grew from Sea to Shining Sea,by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Kluger. It¹s a
painstaking historical breakdown of the wheeling and dealing between the
commanders of capital in England, France, Spain, even Mexico, and the
commanders of U.S. financial and business interests in their pursuit of the
acquisition of the land that now makes up the United States of America. By
any means necessarythrough war, occupation, slavery, and extermination of
the indigenous peoples of AmericaU.S. commanders of capital got most of
what they wanted. But it is still not enough of what they needan unending
supply of capital.
U.S. big business wheeling and dealing
The Times article by Glanz details the financial machinations going on in
the Iraqi oil fields. The pivotal thorn in the U.S. occupying paw is the
Iraqi Oil Law, which includes, according to Glanz, ³Article 111 of the Iraqi
Constitution...oil and natural resources are properties of Iraqi people....²
It is worth a closer look at this article.
³Contributing to the dispute is the decision by the Kurds to begin signing
contracts with international oil companies before the federal law is passed.
The most recent instance, announced last week on a Kurdish government Web
site, was an oil exploration contract with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas.
³The Sunni Arabs who removed their support for the deal did so, in part,
because of a contract the Kurdish government signed earlier with a company
based in the United Arab Emirates, Dana Gas, to develop gas reserves.
³The Kurds say their regional law is consistent with the Iraqi Constitution,
which grants substantial powers to the provinces to govern their own
affairs. But Mr. Shahristani believes that a sort of Kurdish declaration of
independence can be read into the move. This to us indicates very serious
lack of cooperation that makes many people wonder if they are really going
to be working within the framework of the federal law,¹ Mr. Shahristani said
in a recent interview, before the Hunt deal was announced.
³Kurdish officials dispute that contention, saying that they are doing their
best to work within the Constitution while waiting for the Iraqi Parliament,
which always seems to move at a glacial pace, to consider the legislation.
³¹We reject what some parties saythat it is a step towards
separationbecause we have drafted the Kurdistan oil law depending on
Article 111 of the Iraqi Constitution, which says oil and natural resources
are properties of Iraqi people,¹ said Jamal Abdullah, a spokesman for the
Kurdistan Regional Government. Both Iraqi and Kurdish oil laws depend on
that article,¹ Mr. Abdullah said.
³The other crucial players are the Sunnis and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal
al-Maliki. Some members of one of the main Sunni parties, Tawafiq, which
insists on federal control of contracts and exclusive state ownership of the
fields, bolted when it became convinced that the Kurds had no intention of
following those guidelines.²
Of course, all of these negotiations are made under the giant umbrella of
U.S. military occupation and constant bombardment, while it insists upon the
Iraqi ³people¹s [read: competing Iraqi business interests¹] right² to make
business deals with American oil corporations for a cut of the profits for
themselvesthe Iraqi people be damned! In reading a September 20, 2007,
Timesarticle entitled ³Cholera Case Reported in Baghdad,² by Andrew E.
Kramer, I couldn¹t help thinking about the similarities between the
treatment of the indigenous population of the Americas in the pursuit of
U.S. territory (which I learned by reading Kluger¹s book) and the current
seizing of Iraq by the U.S. military for the benefit of U.S. business
³Iraqi health officials confirmed the first cases of cholera in Baghdad
today, in a sign that an epidemic that has infected approximately 7,000
people in northern Iraq is spreading south through the country¹s decrepit
and unsanitary water system.... It is already endemic in some parts of
Iraq, but when it is growing and moving, that¹s when it becomes an
epidemic,¹ said Dr. Naeema al-Gasseer, the World Health Organization¹s
representative for Iraq. The organization said there was laboratory
confirmation of the disease in a 25-year-old woman living in Baghdad.
³Cholera is fairly simple to treat under normal circumstances, but the war
in Iraq makes it far more difficult to contain. The mass displacement of the
population has pushed many people into unsanitary living conditions, where
food and water can become tainted with sewage and spread the cholera
³Kamar el-Jadi, head of the health department for the Red Crescent Society
in Baghdad, said cholera was spreading because some people embraced
unsanitary living conditions, and she criticized the government for not
³They like to live and eat in the rubbish,¹ she said. I don¹t know how
they can eat in these bad conditions.¹
³She added: The government is doing nothing. They don¹t have a program.
They have done nothing against this disease.¹
³Health officials at the Red Crescent had earlier predicted that cases would
begin turning up in Baghdad in late September or early October, when
temperatures are especially favorable for the bacteria, Vibrio cholerae,
which infects the intestines. People contract cholera by drinking water or
eating food contaminated with the bacteria, which comes from the feces of an
In his book, Seizing Destiny,Richard Kluger describes the same kinds of wars
of occupation that landed the Original Boundaries with the Treaty of Paris
in 1783; the Louisiana Territory purchased from France in 1803; the purchase
of Florida from Spain in 1819; the Republic of Texas annexed by Congress in
1845; acquisition of the Oregon Territorya treaty with Britain in 1846; the
Mexican cessionthe Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848; the Gasden
Purchasea treaty with Mexico that resulted in the acquisition of 29,670
square miles of Mexican territory; the purchase of Alaska from Russia in
1867; the annexation of Hawaii by Congress in 1898; the 1898 treaties with
Spain for Puerto Rico and Guam; the annexation of American Samoa by Congress
in 1900; the purchase of the Virgin Islands from Denmark in 1917; and the
1947 UN Trusteeship and the 1976 Covenant by Congress of Northern Marianas,
bringing the total U.S. territory to 3,540,305 square miles.
All of this territory was acquired by wheeling and dealing with
self-declared ³Old World² rulers and ³landowners² who themselves had no real
right over the territory they ruled over by force of violence and for their
own financial and business gains.
None of treaties that were negotiated with the native peoples were kept. The
people were swept away, systematically exterminated. They were not human
beings, just ³nits² in the way of Manifest Destiny, i.e., nits in the hair
of rich white men!
The modus operandi described in this book that was adopted by the
³forefathers² of U.S. imperialism differs from the current situation in Iraq
only to the extent that today, the imperialists are not sending ³settlers,²
with the U.S. Calvary to defend them. The government is sending its military
outright, backed up by an equal or surpassing number of ³private
contractors² who are working to protect Iraqi oil directly. They are
occupying the Iraqi oil fields and pipelines, trying to protect the U.S.
military and corporate-owned machinery waiting to be put into operation, to
fully exploit Iraqi oil reserves and secure their military might in the
While they have not distributed contaminated blankets to the Iraqis, the
U.S. has created all the conditions for cholera and other such diseases to
flourish and take hold among innocent Iraqi people struggling for survival
under war, occupation, and the total destruction of their infrastructure and
their way of life.
Kluger¹s book does more than expose the brutal and violent truth behind the
seizurethe outright theftof U.S. territory. Along with this he exposes the
imperial interests of the wealthiest nations with the mightiest fleets and
most powerful weaponsno match for the simple life of the indigenous peoples
who lived off the land gathering nuts and berries and hunting with spears,
bows, and arrows.
The Iraqis are not hunters and gatherers. Iraq is a nation with more
engineers per capita than the United States. But its people are up against
the most powerful military force ever amassed on the earth, and they had no
weapons of mass destruction! Its population has been reduced to hunting and
gathering in the garbage dumps of the U.S. occupiers, drinking from
contaminated water supplies and contracting preventable diseases, all at the
hands of the historically despotic corporate rulers of the United States of
Kluger¹s book only mentions a few ³Indian massacres.² But what glares out
from his book is the near absence of concern about the indigenous peoples in
the minds and hearts of those in pursuit of the private ownership of the
land. For this is what this country was founded upon: the right of the
wealthyoriginating in the Old World and continuing to todayto steal land
and resources away from the inhabitants, human or otherwise, that stand in
their way, whom they deem inferior to themselves.
Manifest Destiny was a racist-to-the-core justification for the
extermination of millions upon millions of indigenous peoples in the North
American continent and in every continent on the planet. It was the Old
World¹s license to kill! How familiar it sounds! Under the guise of
³Operation Iraqi Freedom²of saving the Iraqi people from themselves; of
militarily occupying their land; of destroying their cities and towns and
factories like they destroyed native villages, destroyed the crops, and
slaughtered the buffalo.
In Iraq the U.S. destroyed modern cities, schools, hospitals, and access to
electricity, clean water, and working sewage systems. U.S. occupation of and
war against Iraq and Afghanistan has left masses of the indigenous
population of those countries without any means of support or any way to
make a living except around the dumping grounds of U.S. enclaves on their
In the book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Sitting Bull, while traveling
with Buffalo Bill¹s Wild West Show in the summer of 1885, was quoted as
telling Annie Oakley, another one of the show¹s ³stars,² that he could not
understand how white men could be so unmindful of their own poor. ³The white
man knows how to make everything,² he said, ³but he does not know how to
Richard Kluger¹s, Seizing Destinyexposes the truth about what was really on
the minds of the ³forefathers² of U.S. imperialism from the instant they set
foot on the North American continent. It was the white man¹s burden and his
destiny to rule this world, seize the land and resources for himself, use
slaves whenever necessary and convenient, exterminate whenever convenient
and expedient, and wage war and occupation and the spreading of disease
whenever necessary for the betterment of his own private and selfish
interests. As the imperialists so proudly claim, they are the bestthe only
ones worthy of the title, human being.
The massive accumulation of personal wealth justified by Manifest Destiny
allowed and still allows these despots to buy the biggest and most deadly
weapons and support a large military force to put muscle behind those
weapons for the purpose of seizing even more for themselves.
They claim they have a right to all of this because white people from the
Old World are not only smarter, more advanced, more civilized, but in fact,
a higher level of human being. All the rest, even their own poor and
ignorant white trash, are less than fully human and thereby need to be ruled
by them, to live only at their discretion and only for as long as they are
useful to them.
Manifest Destiny is still being carried out today by the same despotic
government, with its very roots soaked in the blood of the multitudes of the
innocent of centuries pastthe indigenous peoples; the slaves; the
indentured servants; and the multitudes working for subsistance wageswhose
lives were and still are sacrificed to increase the profits, property,
power, and status of the wealthiest U.S. capitalists and their allies.
I recommend Kluger¹s book because it shows how this country came to be. I
also recommend that people study further about how this country has treated
its own indigenous people, because this helps to make sense out of the
treatment of the Iraqi and Afghani people by the U.S. military today.
Nits Make Lice!¹
In 1864, Governor Evans of Colorado Territory issued a general proclamation
dispatched to the Indian camps by messengers, ordering all peaceful Indians
to assemble at Fort Lyon. Those Indians who did not comply with the order
would be killed. The order authorized the citizens of Colorado Territory to
go in pursuit of all hostile Indians of the plains, to kill and destroy, as
enemies of the country, wherever the Indians may be found. Colonel
Chivington responded in kind. In a Denver speech, in August of 1864,
Chivington is quoted as saying, ³kill and scalp all, little and big... nits
make lice.² He was applauded, and the phrase became the slogan among his
fighting regiment. On the early morning of November 29, 1864, Chivington¹s
troops did just that, killing more than 600 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians,
primarily women and childrenscalping and dismembering them in what is now
known as the Sand Creek Massacre.
In March 2006, U.S soldiers in Iraq participated in the rape and murder of a
14-year-old Iraqi girl and her family, then set her body on fire to hide the
evidence. On November 19, 2005, a group of United States Marines killed 24
unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children. To date, nearly one
million Iraqi people have been murdered by the U.S. war and occupation.
Millions more were murdered as a result of ten years of U.S. sanctions
against Iraq that stopped the flow of medicines and life-saving food and
equipment to the Iraqi people.
Once again it is the innocent who are sacrificed mercilessly to fill the
coffers of the wealthy elite of U.S. capital and its Old World allies.
Neither the modus operandi of U.S. imperial conquest nor its distinctly
unequal distribution of wealth has changed since its formation. In fact, its
distribution of wealth has become more concentrated than ever before. And
the massacres have gotten larger, more deadly, and more widespread.
How wise was Chief Sitting Bull?
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