Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Britain's 'Collective Amnesia'

Ever get the feeling that the Iraq war (2003-), the great war for regime change and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East (let's cut the crap about oil), has largely receded from living memory?

That the impact of digital amnesia and neoliberal policies on peoples' lives has been so great that the 21st century's equivalent of World War I now seems almost as remote as that war?

That one of the reasons people are so gulled by the official 'rebels vs the dictator' line on Syria is because they've forgotten what the Iraq war was really all about?

Now I haven't read British writer Will Self's latest novel but I cannot fault his response to the following interview question:

The Iraq war also features heavily in Phone. Why was it important to you to include?

"I cannot think of a serious literary novelist in this country who's tackled the Iraq war at all. And I think it is the biggest stain on our national character of the past 20 years. And I think that collective amnesia about it and refusal to engage with it is playing out in political decisions that are being made now." (Will Self: 'The novel is absolutely doomed', Alex Clark, theguardian.com, 18/3/18)

But it's worse than that: never forget that "the biggest stain on [Britain's] national character" of the past 100 years is the Palestine problem and that not one "serious [British] literary novelist," except the now forgotten Ethel Mannin (1900-1984)*, has tackled that particular stain.

[The Road to Beersheba (1963); The Night & its Homing (1966)]


Grappler said...

The enormous cost in human misery and death outweighs any monetary costs, but taking the people who argue "it was for the oil" at their word, let us look at this in financial and oil security terms.

The Iraq war has cost around $1.9T on some estimates.


Here is the now former Secretary of State arguing that the US is essentially self-sufficient in energy:


And this argument was already being made before 2003- vis-a-vis fracking:

So if it is about oil, then it is really all about the money. Incidentally isn't that called theft? To be pedantic, it's really robbery. Let's leave aside the potential climate change effects of burning that much oil.

Now Iraq's oil is worth close to $3T - or it was estimated to be such in 2002.

I hear you arguing that that means we get about $1T in profit out of it. But that ignores the alternatives. Suppose the oil companies had gone to Saddam and said "We will give you $1.9T (or less - perhaps $1T) for your oil". I am pretty convinced he would have regarded it as a bargain.

Also note this:


and note also that most of the companies mining oil in Iraq are not American - Total (French), Shell (UK-Dutch), Eni (Italian), Lukoil (Russian), Petronas (Malaysia).

As it is, every US citizen has paid $6k on average for a war that has achieved nothing financially for them and has brought misery and destruction on a people who posed no threat to the US. Cui bono?

And what is all of this "we" (as in "we get about $1T in profit") about? Australia's financial cost has been estimated at around $5B, What did we gain?

Anonymous said...

The US like us! That's why Turnbull managed to get those tax exemptions off Trump? What I hear you say, there has been no full accounting of the deal in terms of what Australia had to relinquish in order for those concessions to kick in. I suppose you don't believe in the tooth fairy either? You'll probably tell me that It was Russia who caused all this mess in the Middle East in the first place. (obvious sarcasm...just in case)