Why African Americans Should Oppose The War

Jacob Levich jlevich at earthlink.net
Thu Feb 20 19:22:43 MST 2003


Black Commentator
Issue Number 30
February 20, 2003

Why African Americans Should Oppose The War
By Dr. Sonja Ebron


"If we don't have boots in the Iraqi desert by spring, we have to wait till
winter because of the heat," says conventional wisdom. Don't believe the
hype: our soldiers can handle the heat, but gas and oil prices can't stand
the cold. Heavy demand makes winter fuel prices the highest of the year,
and prices spike when an oil producer like Iraq is attacked. Best to fight
in the spring and summer when prices are low. That's just the first lesson
in the nexus between oil, money, time and the taking of other people's
property by force. As the U.S. government rushes to invade and occupy Iraq,
people around the globe ask Why, Why now, and Why so alone?

Look all around you. Plastics, carpets, asphalt, paint, fertilized soil.
Look how electrified our lifestyles. All of it based in oil and gas.
Transportation systems, the glue of our economy, needed for centralized
workplaces and the economic cohesion of our nation, dependent on oil.
Agriculture, pharmaceuticals, a host of other industries all critically
dependent on oil. Globally, one's personal income is more closely related
to the amount of energy one consumes than to any other factor. Oil is the
most liquid energy, the form most easily transformed to others. The more
oil you use, directly or indirectly, the richer you are. As the richest
country on the planet, U.S. oil consumption is more than 20 million barrels
a day and rising. We produce less than half those barrels, importing the
rest largely from Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, Nigeria, and
Iraq. Within 20 years, we will import 6.5 barrels out of every 10 we consume.
U.S. oil production peaked in 1971, enabling OPEC's 1973 oil embargo and
the deep economic recession that resulted. Jimmy Carter changed our
country's policy toward Arab nations in 1980 by designating the supply of
cheap oil from southwest Asia (the "Middle East") vital to national
security. Our policy in the region quickly evolved to prevent the rise of a
hegemonic power, like Iraq was becoming in 1990, able to influence use of
the region's oil. The world's oil production will peak this decade,
bringing with it a permanent change in oil market control from those who
consume to those who produce. This change will occur at a time when our
economy is far more dependent on imported oil than it was in the 1970s.
With deep roots in the oil industry, the Bush administration rightly seeks
to diversify our sources of imported oil. Large oil and gas deposits in the
Caspian Sea (circumscribed by Iran, Russia, and the -stans in central
Asia), South America (including Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil), the South
China Sea (circumscribed by Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia), and
West Africa (primarily Nigeria, Angola and Gabon) are consequently drawing
sober U.S. interest.

Black Americans have historic and cultural ties to Africa, as illustrated
by our concern with the continent's poverty and HIV/AIDS rates, its terms
of international trade, and its continuing struggles against colonialism.
Many of us cheered last year when all 53 African states vowed to increase
trade and to cross national boundaries as necessary to implement the
mandates of a new African Union. Few of us know that Africa produces
one-seventh of the oil consumed in the U.S., a figure that will rise to
one-quarter over the next decade. Even fewer know that oil discoveries in
Africa have outpaced those of every other region for several years. "West
Africa's oil has become of national strategic interest to us," Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner declared early
last year. "African oil should be treated as a priority for U.S.
post-September 11th security," added Congressman Edward Royce, chair of the
Africa subcommittee in the House of Representatives. Discussions are
ongoing at the highest levels of our government to formally designate west
Africa a region vital to national security. Those of us with interests in
Africa - African Americans, in particular - must understand the
implications of this. With the size of Africa's oil exports growing to
rival Saudi Arabia's, we must assess our government's war plans against the
U.S. need for oil.

More at http://www.blackcommentator.com/30/30_analysis.html




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