Monday, January 31, 2005

Old Memes Never Die

You'd have to be pretty hardhearted not to be moved by the courage of the millions of Iraqis who insisted on turning out to vote yesterday despite the very real threat that they would be walking into mayhem and violent death at the polls.

So begins Bob Herbert's latest Op-Ed in the New York Times. For a moment I thought he'd actually come away from the Dark Side, but it soon became clear that Herbert's doing his best to throw cold water on yesterday's achievement in democracy.

In much of Iraq the people exist in a kind of hell on earth, at the mercy of American forces on the one hand and a variety of enraged insurgents on the other. Despite the pretty words coming out of the Bush administration, the goals of the U.S. and the goals of most ordinary Iraqis are not, by a long stretch, the same.

The desire of the U.S., as embodied by the Bush administration, is to exercise as much control as possible over the Middle East and its crucial oil reserves. There is very little concern here about the plight of ordinary Iraqis, which is why the horrendous casualties being suffered by Iraqi civilians, including women and children, get so little attention.

"It's all about oil!" Wow. I thought we'd heard the last of that one.


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