Tuesday, March 20, 2007

So what has Poland got out of Iraq?

Four years after their government sent in its troops, Poles are scratching their heads as to what exactly they have got out of the bloody mess.

The decision to join the coalition of the (not so) willing in Iraq, on Warsaw’s part, was not just the usual eagerness to support the US in anything and everything. It was naked opportunism.

Way back in July, 2003, three month after the war began (and just after Bush declared ‘mission accomplished’ – fool!) the then foreign minister (for the post-communist SLD government) Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz told the PAP news agency:

"We have never hidden our desire for Polish oil companies to finally have access to sources of commodities."

In January 2006, the then Polish prime minister, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said:

'Orlen [Poland’s largest oil refining company] should have oil deposits. And it will have them.' Asked if he meant Iraqi oil deposits, he added “Sure, those too.”

Mercenaries

I was on the (small) march in Warsaw against the war in the February before it began. It was a weird mixture of people. The usual anarchist types were there, accompanied by the usual dogs on bits of string. There were also grannies from the ultra-catholic Radio Maryja group.

Grannies and crusties, plus Andrzej Lepper, make up what is of the antiwar ‘movement’ here.

The banners accompanying the march read ‘No blood for oil’.

I always thought that was a simplification of the situation – I am against the war on principle, as I am for the right of self-determination, and against imperialism and foreign intervention in all its many forms. I also thought it would lead to the ‘balkanization’ of Iraq. I also thought that Iraqis would not be lining the streets waving little stars and stripes and union jacks as the brave American and British boys charged down the streets in tanks.

Looks like I was right. It’s been a disaster.

But the argument that the invasion was to get grubby hands on Iraqi oil certainly does work in Poland’s case. And that stinks. Reeks.

Polish governments never have got hold of oil deposits in any significant way, however. Oil production is still below what it was before the war and doesn’t look like improving anytime soon.

Poland has lost 19 lives in Iraq. That’s nothing compared to what Iraq has lost. But even 19 lives are way too high a price to pay for this mercenary adventure that has brought Poland nothing, accept a pat on the back from their American and British friends.

Shame on all of them.

75 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here Here! George Bush has created a terrible mess and a lot of Yankee ass kissers are now looking pretty gullible and weak.

The problem is, will pulling out now create even more havoc?

m.b.(toronto,CANADA)

geez said...

It has been well documented that most of the havoc is taking place immediately contiguous to coalition bases. Go figure.

geez said...

I also recall some folks on this blog arguing way back when that Polish firms and the government would benefit by getting some kind of contracts.

Have any of these contracts panned out?

jannovak57 said...

In tangible terms nothing but a small economic benefit to Poland and a significant benefit to the Polish arms industries. There have been significant sales of equipment new and used to the Iraqi government (actually to the American tax payer).

The motivation for this adventure was four fold:

-economic benefits from providing equipment and services
-purchasing American friendship (the insurance policy)
-giving the Polish Army operational experience
-getting access to oil

The first and last go into the column labelled opportunism, the second we can call prudence and the third practicality.

I bet Polish decision makers thought it was a good idea at the time, but they underestimated American incompetence. At this point the Americans aren’t going to stay much longer, when they start to leave we leave (as the ever-faithful ally). If we get to leave without significant additional casualties then we got through this relatively unscathed and some lessons learned.

Check with Polish history as this not the first time we tagged along with a lost cause.

Jannovak57 said...

A question to all, should all foreign forces leave Iraq now and let the chips fall were they may?

beatroot said...

Great comments.

The question, as the Clash would put it: ‘should we stay or should we go’, is the issue now.

As someone who was against the war in the first place because outside intervention makes things worse not better, I have to say ‘Go’.

There will be winners and losers in what follows. But there has to be now, anyway. And the US and ‘Iraq’ – what’s gonna be left of it - are gonna be the losers.

but it wasn;t just about American idiocy. The whole thing was always going to fail. Change has to come from within.

Kuba said...

"It has been well documented that most of the havoc is taking place immediately contiguous to coalition bases. Go figure"

...wait, let me give you some more food for thought, so you can figure it all in one intensive sitting:
...ready?..:

..It has been proven beyond doubt - based on observation - that whenever a fire breaks out -(u with me?)... there's always a fire brigade on the premises.. Interesting, huh?

Now, check this out: further observation has been conducted with due diligence...the more ferocious the fire...the bigger the number of them units around!

go figure - take all the time you want(only don't blow fuses)

beatroot said...

Kuba. Would you like to show us some evidence of these 'observations'?

Kook?

Anonymous said...

First time I see jannovak57 said... something inteligent.

Congrats!


Beatroot,

>"As someone who was against the war in the first place because outside intervention makes things worse not better, I have to say ‘Go’."<

Isn't going out of Irak now and leaving all that mess they created behind - kind of action of the same level as was attaking Irak? They made shit in Irak and can not just wash hands now ("sorry, can not handle, not my war anyway") - those who started - including Poland - have to admit responsibility and fix it. No matter how lond it takes - 10 years or 100.

I hope I am wrong in thinking that soon after troops leave shias will just kill sunnis and Irak will break in parts.

jannovak57 said...

Now for an ugly piece of speculation, what if the Americans can’t leave even if they want to?

Let me suggest that if they cut and run now, Saudi Arabia will be left with a Shite dominated Iraq under Iranian influence to some unknown extend. This for the Saudis is the worst-case scenario were perhaps there’s going to be a conflict between Sunni and Shite countries. The Saudis who are Sunni may demand the Americans hang in there until they’re more certain of an outcome Saudi Arabia can live with.

The Saudis could well threaten the Americans with $100/ barrel oil if they don’t get the mess they made under control.

Kuba said...

Kuba. Would you like to show us some evidence of these 'observations'?

...umm, ..I thought I just posted the evidence...ah!u mean like conclusions? ....ha! So you want me to do the thinking for you, now?! but that's ok; the gist of it goes som'like this -
- just as coalition forces' concentration is well documented to coincide in time and space with the greatest havoc and -having done my 'figuring'- I arrived at a conclusion that there is sinister burden of responsibilty to be taken on the shoulders of coalition forces in relation to the above, (right?)
so, by force of analogy and immensity of unambiguous empirical data - firemen should get their asses kicked for the massive occurence of fires wherever they show up...?

beatroot said...

Anonymous (please, please give yourself a name – (Ireland’s finance minister, Bank O’Mat would do )
Isn't going out of Irak now and leaving all that mess they created behind - kind of action of the same level as was attaking Irak?

You are making the huge presumption that the US/UK occupation has, and is, having a positive influence. And if it is not having a positive influence then it must be having a bad influence. And if it is having a negative influence, then it’s time to admit defeat and get the hell out of there (as long as they promise to pick up the tab).

Jan
All what you say is perfectly possible. America has been treating Iraq like three different countries ever since it gate crashed…so the ethnic split has been pretty much sealed. And that will further increase tensions in that region. Shia, for the first time, are now dominant. Iran keeps getting stronger; Iraq now the majority rule; Lebanon and Hezbollah….it goes on…

That’s why the whole ‘project’ was wring, from the start.

beatroot said...

Kuba:
just as coalition forces' concentration is well documented

Where is that documented?

..and what have you been smoking?

geez said...

firemen should get their asses kicked for the massive occurence of fires wherever they show up

<^>^<^>^<^>^<^>

Ah, I see, Kuba (a little pije Kuba do Jakuba tonight?). You think that the the Coalition forces are analogous to firemen. And I thought "shock and awe" set the whole damn place on fire in the first place. Silly me! And by the way, it's not so much your firemen that are getting their asses kicked in proximity to the bases as it is a relatively higher level of violence between Shiites and Sunni. Wiwat!

geez said...

what if the Americans can’t leave even if they want to?

^>*>^>*>^>*>^>*>^>*>

I don't believe that any of the folk who have a potential of being elected US president have any intention of leaving Iraq -- no matter what.

Kuba said...

...oooshh...dude, look at the second (right after the first and directly preceiding the third)
post of this 'discussion' excreted by one "geez" - that's what I have been referring to; I cited it in the opening to my first entry, in inverted comas - by the book - so as to make it easy for ya to make the connection...not quite enough


...actually, I had been pondering a hit or two, to make the best of your blog, but you (I mean all you, except for the solitary figure called Jan Nowak etc. who quite intrusively pops up here and there sayin reasonable things, time and again and completely disregarding the blog's apparent mental dress-code*) - but you all - I say, have actually given me the natural high, of which I'd thought it was kind of like the Yeti; much talked about and never seen...and yet! - that's how nicely you spin the wheel!

I'm sorry for that enunciation; you kind of made me shed my camouflage under which I had been trying to fit in to mximize experience, - by your stubborn refusal to understand even a fraction of the crudest joke

*Jan Nowak! I holla at ya, you cut that out, now - I am sure you can produce at least some ish for the conformity of this environment - at least try! Otherwise what are they supposed to think of your stunt? I mean look at you!You come here, flash your decent IQ...eccentric sensibility

Anonymous said...

Finally I have something in common With Beatroot:
I ´m against the invasion of Iraq and also took part in a protest against it.

Signed by one of the anonymous who doesn´t like the (false) refugee.

Kuba said...

ooooiii geez has spoken again! and has he spoken, ha. it just keeps gettin better:
now let me lay it down for ya bit by bit, i.e now uncle Kuba is going to say bluntly what he was trying to subversively smuggle in under the clever device called irony and with a little help from paradox. Here I come (don't look around., I mean figuratively!)..:

Geez, r u with me? the following is citation of your gem:
"t has been well documented that most of the havoc is taking place immediately contiguous to coalition bases. Go figure"
- to the above, I've added my part about firemen in vain hope that it will highlight (well, if not for you - be it)the sheer absurdity of your 'thinking'and its final 'suggestion':
the occurence of intenser violence in the vicinity of coalition bases just as 'firmly' proves that the coalition forces are in any way responsible for it as firemen's presence necesserily tying them down to the scenes of fire proves that they are the ones to set it!
In other words; there is graeter concentration of U.S etc forces in the areas with bigger potential of conflict. Now, do you get it?

geez said...

Sorry, Kuba, I am sure you are largely clueless as to what constitutes an analogy, irony, a paradox, etc., much less any understanding of how the invasion and occupation of Iraq sparked the conflagration there and why it now intensifies.

While I hope you enjoyed this little episode of flaming (just don't light a match to your breath), I'm done.

da reel rastaman said...

If de firemon, Kubamon, is so good at what dey do, why do de flames rise when dey be hosing on de water, or is it petro, hey Kubamon?

ignatius pop said...

I thought it was David Bowie, not the Coalition of the Willing FD, who sang:

Well it`s been so long
And I`ve been putting out fire with gasoline
Putting out fire with gasoline

-- from/for the movie Cat People

Kuba said...

Ah, I see, Kuba (a little pije Kuba do Jakuba tonight?). You think that the the Coalition forces are analogous to firemen. And I thought "shock and awe" set the whole damn place on fire in the first place. Silly me!

Silly is a gross underestimation of your pristine mental cast which allows you to afford a unique reptilian perspective of 'here and now' with no notion of events unfolding in time, not to mention such complexities as parallel causality with indefinite direction. You see, it is rather hard to say for sure what ''was in the first place" - certainly it was not homely under Saddam and the US did not exactly bumrush the party Iraquis had been having with him just for the sake of it. I would say that today's havoc is solely to be owed to the fact that late Saddam was left to his own devices for way too long. As in case of every despotic rule, all conflicts were kept lid on which does not mean there were none: its like when you cook a soup and let steam build up under the tight lid so that at some point it is difficult to lift it without a blast.
Shia vs Sunnni conflict, my wide-eyed friend, stems precisely and directly from the fact that Saddam Hussein (may he suck devil's dick for eternity) has built his executive on a minority Sunnis which given the fact that this executive's primary modus operandi was executing all that moved without their direct orders - naturally produced some resentment among the Shias. Of course, Americans failed to smoothly manage this potential of anger, but let me make a suggestion that if the rest of the rich world was not indulging in shadenfreude but actually took active part or at least offered friendly neutrality and thoughtful - if not military - assistance instead of throwing every bananna peel they could lay their hands on undr coalition's feet - things would have looked a graet deal brighter. As it is, such party poops as Iran's Ahmedisaomething are setting their smelly feet in every raft created by the lack of consort in the civilized West.
All you have been doing - that goes to you mr geez as well as to Mr Chirac and all motley crew of cynics, complete idiots, pacifistic retards full of neverland shit, jerk-offs jealous of America's position, which this very America was willing (and surprisingly is still)to extend to the benefit of all human beings - all you have been busy doing was yapping with a dick in your hand with tearful eyes over Hussein's execution, castigating America, UK, Poland etc for torture that never happened and crimes never committed, etc. I am not saying all has been done well, but imperfection is the way things are in this mortal coil but you, instead of helping, preferred to go vocal...
Shame on you...only thing that stinks - reeks - around here is oozy brownish pulp that fills the bowls on top of your necks

Kuba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kuba said...

"Ah, I see, Kuba (a little pije Kuba do Jakuba tonight?)..."

as a matter of fact: I am as sober as pope Benedict

Renegade Eye said...

The next time someone calls you neocon, show them this post.

beatroot said...

disregarding the blog's apparent mental dress-code*)

That’s good…go on

trying to subversively smuggle in under the clever device called irony and with a little help from paradox.

Irony and paradox…is that what they call it, these days?

Now, do you get it?

Er…quite frankly…no. I don’t.

Uncle Kuba – I know it may be my inferior intelligence but everything you write looks to me like complete and utter bullshit.

Have you seen a doctor recently?

renegade - who's callin me a neocon?

steppx said...

the invasion was illegal (not that it matters at this point) and nakedly Imperialist. Saddam was put in power circa 1963 with CIA assistance...
Sanctions, and invasion, and occupation. I suspect the people of the middle east are quite right in hating the US.

Troops leave now. It wont make things worse....(first, thats maybe not possible) since all indications are that its the occupying army that is fueling most of the violence.
But the US wont leave...its built huge pemanent bases and a GIGANTIC embassy in the green zone. The US miltiary budget is around two BILLION dollars a day -- so that money has to get spent somewhere.

Poland wanted US contracts and didnt get them. It got almost nothing in fact. Oil and strategic bases were the reasons....along with, and this is important, the constant state of war that drives the US economy. (Halliburton, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Bechtel, etc etc etc etc).
The US wont leave....despite the disaster (Patrick Cockburn has a good piece over at Counterpunch on the current state of Iraq) because it cant afford to. (unless of course it invades or bombs Iran....more waste economy and Imperialist hubris).

varus said...

Firstly, you guys have had a busy night!! There was litlle me only sleeping, while the net was ablaze with your variuos tirades.

Anyway...

Steppx,

I agree with the military industrial complex version of things, but has anyone also considered the pressure cooker analogy for the US aswell. - what do i mean? - Well, inorder to keep domestic inter-ethnic tensions (see Samauel Huntington, at bay the US must focus abroad and a) provide a distraction from internal problems (inequality/school shootings etc...) and b) justify its own system of economics and governance by exporting it. - Free market economics and democracy must win the day, or else why should the millions of Americans without healthcare and prospects put up with the stae of the US?

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Personally, I am suspicious of the military complex thing. That is more an American (Wright Mills) way of looking at things and we see it slightly different in the UK, Europe.

But of course there is some truth in that.

But I would also say that capitalism, the nature of it and how it behaves has changed in the last two three decades. So the ‘war economy’ thing I just don’t buy at all.

This Iraq thing wasn’t the old imperialism. It’s a new phenomena linked to a uni-polar, post cold world situation with the US trying to find a new role for itself to justify its own existence. This is where the neo-con but comes in.

Neo-con was always a disaster waiting to happen and quite apart from its imperial aspirations it was also always incredibly naive!

I don’t think the future of US policy is more of the same, however. There is a big populist protectionist foreign policy coming and it will be led by the liberals (democrats are traditionally more protectionist that Reps), not neocons – which is a bust flush of an ideology. So is the ‘war on terror’.

The dems are going to get in next time and they have no more answers than the Bushies. Iraq will continue to fester. Shia will get stronger. Conflict will increase, the US will withdraw more into its hole….

geez said...

...provide a distraction from internal problems

I don't think that's it, Varus. Distraction-wise (or dimmed), I think most of us Yanks are content enough with the endless and ever intensifying spectacles of Paris Hilton, Brittany Spears, Anna Nicole Smith, American Idol, ad nauseum. We're all weary of war -- because we've been involved in so many of them, one after the other. Besides if we want war and buff guys, we go see 300 at the kino.

varus said...

Geez,

and the justification of the status quo? - People must believe in the notion of the American Dream, otherwise they start to ask too many questions about their predicament. By persuading Iraqis that democracy is the answer, the system can show the average guy back home that he should be happy, as hey, he already lives in a democracy!!

beatroot said...

By persuading Iraqis that democracy is the answer,

Thinking that someone from the outside can persuade others that democracy would be good for them, was part of the mistake. Democracy in say UK and US came from genuine indigenous movements in those countries. People won democracy and freedoms for themselves.

Giving people their freedom is of course a contradiction in terms

Iraqis will get democracy when they fight for it themselves

geez said...

Maybe a few folks reason that way, but I doubt that most Americans give a poop one way or the other as long as we have cable TV, gas under $3 a gallon, and don't have to wait in lines to pump it.

And I have to admit, I'm somewhat similarly soma-ed (Huxley).

Seems to me, too, that more and more people I talk to are having to come to grips why American attempts to establish democracy in foreign lands keeps failing.

Too much war for too long. First this one, then that one -- none with any favorable resolution. It doesn't seem like they'll ever stop.

That's why I agree with BR that a Dem will win the presidency this year (unless the candidates devour each other which remains a distinct possibility). Then again, if Hillary is the candidate, it's going to be a tight one which could go either way. I know I'll have to swallow a lot of bile to vote for her.

But I don't think she'll fit the protectionist mold. Certainly, her hubby Bill was the exact opposite with NAFTA, GATT, et. al.

Kuba said...

the beatroot said: I know it may be my inferior intelligence

...your what? I won't be beatin around the bush (ok to giggle here): my shoes are considerably brighter than you...I know I am blunt, but genuine fools believe they are smart no matter what, so no offence taken, right?

Have you seen a doctor recently?
...is this like a proposal..? ...you lil' pervert!

geez said...

I apologize for going off topic but realizing the subject of the missive below is a pet peeve of BR, I want to share it (just found it in my mailbox). Again, I don't know how I weigh in on all this stuff. I see the benefits and the problems and I have my hopes and fears, Anyway:

Dear All,

Poland is under seige by the biotech industry. The latest manifestation comes in the form of an International biotech conference to be held in Krakow on April 25,26,27th entitled "Biotechnology in Agriculture - 1st International Conference and Trade Fair." (See web site http://www.targi.krakow.pl/targi,EUROBIOTECH_I_Miedzynarodowa_Konferencja_i_Targi_Biotechnologia_w_Rolnictwie.html )
The long list
of international biotech professors/scientists attending is testimony to the importance of this event.

It coincides with the Polish government's intention to pass a "GMO Act"
which would open the way for commercial GMO plantings.
We will write to you seperately about this.

We are calling on all anti GMO activists/citizens to consider targetting this Biotech event. It is clearly deliberately being staged in Krakow; a City of great beauty and historical significance in the liberation of Poland... and also one of the first in Poland to declare itself "GMO Free" (2005).
The conference, bringing together so many GMO advocates in one place, offers us an unique opportunity to also express our views about the biotech industry and it's attempt to force GMO on the World.

Suggestions for international involvement:

* Book yourselves into this event (if you can afford it!). Wear a T shirt saying " Genes Are Not For Sale!" Ask embarrasing questions during/after sessions.
* Take a stand at the biotech trade fair and show your leaflets or real food display!
* If not able to get in, come with banners denouncing GMO technology/GM patents as a crime against humanity. Plus words supporting organic/traditional food and farming.
* Leaflet participants with information on the harmful effects of GMO etc...

* Here's a thought for those who can't make it to Krakow (probably most of
you):
Write a letter to the Principles of Jagelonic University and the Agricultural University (who are hosting this conference) saying that you are very disappointed to see that they are holding this event. Tell them that it would be much better to be promoting the protection of the Polish countryside, rather than it's contamination through GMO.
If enough people write along these lines, it could make quite an impression!
Their addresses:
Rector of the Agricultural University of Cracow - Prof. Janusz Żmija Akademia Rolnicza im. Hugona Kołłątaja Al. Mickiewicza 21, 31-120 Kraków, Poland
e-mail: rector@ar.krakow.pl


Rector of the Jagiellonian University - Prof. Karol Musioł ul. Gołębia 24, pok. nr 39, 31-007 Kraków, Poland
e-mail: rektor@adm.uj.edu.pl

ICPPC is mounting a counter-conference on the 25th April entitled:
"Genes Are Not For Sale", also in Krakow. We are inviting some key international figures to expose the real truth about the harmful effects of GMO. Media will be invited.
We are also trying to take a stand at the Biotech Trade Fair to be filled with traditional and organic Polish peasant foods - and will hopefully be leading a symbolic tractor convoy into Krakow on the 24th April!
Owing to all this we will not be in a position to organise your actions - so you will have to be independent.
However, a chance to meet-up does present itself around our counter-conference.
It will be held at the historic Krakow site of Wawel Castle, the palace of many Polish Kings. The centre is called "CENTRUM WYSTAWOWO-KONFERENCYJNE" at the Wawel Castle (www.wawel.krakow.pl).
The conference will be in Polish, except for international speakers who will speak English.

As we have to already book the room - and mostly invite Polish participants, we cannot quarantee what space may be available at this event.
However, if any of you wish to come we will have a chance to meet up at the end of the conference: approx 16:00. It would be good to share our experiences!

Poland's thus far remarkable resistance to GMO - the only European Country to expressly pass an Act of Parliament banning the import and planting of GMO (May 2006) - provided a beacon of hope to citizens in all other Countries.
This Biotech Conference and the Polish government's latest proposal to create a GMO Act are symptomatic of renewed WTO led attempts to open the European market to GMO.

with best wishes,

Julian and Jadwiga
=============
ICPPC - International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, Międzynarodowa Koalicja dla Ochrony Polskiej Wsi
34-146 Stryszów 156, Poland tel./fax +48 33 8797114 biuro@icppc.pl www.icppc.pl www.gmo.icppc.pl www.eko-cel.pl

Twinkle Brother said...

I'm all for sending Kuba to Iraq so he can put his body where his mouth is. Anybody want to start up a collection?

guy montag said...

I thought us firemen are supposed to be the ones setting the fires.

beatroot said...

Uncle Kuba

my shoes are considerably brighter than you...

Yes, Kuba, of course they are. And are your shoes those clogs they give to mental patients, so they can’t strangle themselves with the laces?

:-)

Geez quotes tree hugger
We are calling on all anti GMO activists/citizens to consider targetting this Biotech event.

Oooo..scary! I remember one of the leaders of UK Greenpeace – some minor aristocracy figure (as usual) going into a field that was testing GM crops and ripping them all up. Criminal activity ‘on behalf of humanity’ (though not elected by anyone) is a common tactic by these guys. So what does ‘target’ mean, I wonder?

Book yourselves into this event (if you can afford it!). Wear a T shirt saying " Genes Are Not For Sale!" Ask embarrasing questions during/after sessions.

Aha – the T-shirt tactic. And what embarrassing question? When was the last time you beat your wife?

Take a stand at the biotech trade fair and show your leaflets or real food display!

Weird shaped organic carrot gate crashes GM bash!

If not able to get in, come with banners denouncing GMO technology/GM patents as a crime against humanity.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I am no fan of this bloody government here, but they have one advantage over the tree huggers: THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE. So if they want to pass a GM crop law then they are perfectly untitled to.

But thanks Geez. I am starting get some interesting ideas about this conference of my own...more later.

steppx said...

varus...(and beat and etc):
Quick response.
I think varus is more or less right about domestic US problems....(Im an american)- the growing polorization of the classes.....the destruction of welfare support and general errosion of public education. The military is an economic draft....poor kids who want to go school....and the GI bill is their best shot. The iraq invasion is, however, only partly motivated by this.

But Beat....of course the war economy is real. I mean 2 BILLION a day on defense. Now think on that for a while. TWO BILLION a day. And growing. The privitization of the war is another large topic and there is a good piece on Blackwater (i think maybe at Slate...but that could be wrong) and just how generous the US contracts are to these mercenary corporations.
Anyway, Iraq is the product of several forces....the post cold war need for new enemies...the crappy US economy, and the desire for oil and strategic bases...and the latter links to eastward NATO movements, and the south asian oil and gas fields. But above all its the money made by war....never mind a lot is spent. The defense industry is the largest business in the world. US made weapons are used in Africa, usually on both sides of conflicts, and actually Russian and Brazillian and Israeli and French weapons too. The annual arms fare in London is a very huge event indeed.

If you check the contracts just for, say, Lockheed Martin this year you get some idea of how this industry drives policy.

Some new surveys on Afghanistan suggest that support for the Taliban is growing.....and hatred of the coilition forces also growing. People dont want to be occupied. IF a group as repressive as the taliban can win support through the promise of security (which is how they originally got to power) then you might try to imagine just how bad it is having a foreign army on your street.

geez said...

I see, though, they feature a righteous Beetroot Soup:

http://www.eko-cel.pl/eng/index.php?id=dishes

varus said...

Beat said: "Thinking that someone from the outside can persuade others that democracy would be good for them, was part of the mistake." I didn't say it was an idea that will work, or that they (Iraqis) want it, its the effect back home that was my point.

Geez...
The problem is that not all Americans feel relaxed in their opulence. Ask the guys left in the middle of New Orleans, while the TV helicopters circled, if they felt that the State was working effectively for everyone.

Steppx,
I'm staggered.. An area of agreement!

beatroot said...

Stepp
No, the military industry does not drive military policy. That’s naïve. It’s old fashioned thinking – dating back to the Cold War times.

The old idea was that without the input of the military factor capitalism would somehow collapse. It comes from a literalist view of some of things Marx wrote – i.e. ‘the end of capitalism is nigh…blah, blah..’ Military spending would help stave off this.

But capitalism is changing all the time and especially in the last 20 years. It acts in a completely different way now. Notice the ‘boom-slump’ has all but disappeared, to be replaced by shorter periods of growth – over all – and then shorter, shallower slow downs….?

That’s to do with new technologies, expansion of China/India etc etc/.

So – from this perspective – there is no need to have military ‘war capitalism’.

Even during Reagen times, thinking that way missed the whole point about the ideology of the Cold War.

Is there connection between ruling elites, like what Wright Mills talked about (all those years ago). Yeah. But it doesn’t drive policy. If you think it does then you are missing crucial, far more subtle factors going on today.

opamp said...

Wow. Kuba's metaphors are truly outstanding. Gentlemen, these are the new heights in the art of Internet trolling.

Ad rem. I do hope that the US does not withdraw from Iraq. If they do (which unfortunately seems probable), it will quickly lead to a regional nuclear war, which will cause a global economic crisis.

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Opamp
????

Geez
The price of one-day workshops: 180 PLN
There is a possibility of lodging on an ecotourist farm (additional payment): 40 PLN
There is a possibility of having a meal in a nearby farm (additional payment): 30-40 PLN


Sounds like a barrel of laughs. Although I really think I would rather eat my own testicles...

steppx said...

beat --- if thats so, please explain the two billion a day spent on defense? Is there any other comparable economic force??

And its hard for me to understand how anyone can argue that the need for defense spending doesnt influence policy. Not entirely....im not saying that....but its a huge factor. It dovetails with all kinds of other more ideological things. And varus is right about the domestic situation in the US....this too is a factor.
The US has ideological designs to be sure......but since defense is the biggest industry in the world...on the planet....how is it that it DOESNT influence policy>? How could that be possible?

This isnt marx....this is just common sense and obvious.
Most new technologies are developed in conjunction with the military. New technologies start in the military and THEN trickle down do other civilian areas. Reseach is largely military driven too. SO, ergo, the military influences (and its economy) the policy of the hyper power.

Harry said...

Funny how Kuba is all "YeeHa! USA! USA! USA! We'll kick all of yo' asses!" but then when somebody suggests that he himself should go and fight in his beloved war, he suddenly goes very quiet indeed. With a huge yellow streak down his back and a large brown smear in his pants he's exactly the same as the leadership of USA! USA! USA! They all pussied out when called on to serve their country. No doubt KickAss Kuba will do the same.

geez said...

BR wrote: So – from this perspective – there is no need to have military ‘war capitalism’.

Now all ya gotta do is convince Cheney and the rest of his cronies. Where there's big money to be had, the rest of us get had big time (I think I actually made that one up!). And while I'd still say that oil drives policy more than anything else these days, the merchants of war have more than a bit of say in what goes on.

And BR, can't you get RP to pay for you to do a travel piece on the joys of being an ecotourist? C'mon, I'm sure the food tastes better than your having to resort to eating your jajka (Ugh! Please stick to the option of eating your foot).

And Varus, I hear ya, but my guess is that the vast majority of folks in NO no matter their class and no matter where they wound up, were cable mainlining within a month or two at most after Katrina. In any event, I don't think Iraq ever served as any kind of distraction for them or for any American in anything approximating dire straits. Crack and other drugs, like cable TV, are much, much more distracting.

Sorry, gotta run to catch the Sopranos now

geez said...

steppx wrote: "New technologies start in the military."

^>*>^>*^>^>*^>^*>

I'm not so sure this is still true although it once was. Nowadays,the big buzz I keep hearing as far as technology goes is bio-this and bio-that. Biotechnology. Biomedical technology. Biomanufaturing. Biopharmaeuticals. Biophysics. Bioinformatics. Biofuels. Bio-organics. Bio-plastics. Even bioethics and bioexcuses.

beatroot said...

Of course, there is pressure and influence on governments from the military (and oil) sectors. But governments act in an overall context. And that context today is ‘war on terror’ post cold war. It’s those factors which dictating what is going on, disastrously, today.

And, Geez. No. Spending a week in North Korea would be like eating my foot – spending a week at the Tree Hugging Hilton would be like having to eat the eggs…

geez said...

A commerical break...

One other thing I noticed about the "tree huggers" is that they organized small conferences of small groups of people and pretended that Krakow, Warsaw, Lodz etc. officially proclaimed GM food free zones. That's takes a lot of gall. Then again, maybe if there was a referendum of some sort, people would indeed opt to go that way.

Oh shit, Uncle Junior's gunning for Tony! I can't wait to watch the Black Donnhelys later -- Irish American vs. Italian American mobsters in NYC. Being Polish American , I'm rooting for both of 'em to win, ... er lose, ... er whatever. Tsk.

Kuba said...

harry
Funny how Kuba is all "YeeHa! USA! USA! USA! We'll kick all of yo' asses!" but then when somebody suggests that he himself should...

Harry,
I know you are only 12 and I know the world must seem a sad place to be for you just now, but, please, don't hate me even more for what I am going to tell you as I only want what is best for you and be sure its not easy:
...I am talking about your dirty underwear fixation, Harry! ...Having carefully conidered pros and cons I eventually made up my mind to turn down your desperate (I know!)call for anything personal "With a huge yellow streak" and "a large brown smear". Again, don't think bad of me, Harry, I know you'd now gladly have me killed in any war, the bigger the better, but it will all heal with time; fresh air every day and some exercise work wonders, believe you me!
It may be a bit lousy consolation, but I'll tell you this, too: I have actually made a whole-hearted attempt to recover a specimen of the kind you desire - alas, all my pants and stuff are instantly laundered, so no chance of even the smallest of dots not to speak of 'huge' and 'large'! Sorry, I guess that means you'll have to get by on your own (hopefully plentiful) supplies for a while and pray the Lord keeps you from constipation...
I wish you all the best
uncle k

steppx said...

beat...
ok, well, I think I agree.
The "war on terror"...a pure bit or marketing genius (and total illusion) is the "frame" (as they like to say in this post Franks world).....but the defense industry IS huge. As someone above pointed out, Cheney isnt doing too bad nor are any of the CEOs of major defense contractors. So, yes, the US is motivated by a number of things and yes, acts in an overall context. i would only argue to not minimize the amazingly gigantic defense budget. Its crucial to keeping the US economy afloat.
Now an interesting question is if you make bombs...do you actually HAVE to use them up.....or are invasions of places like Iraq just an additional mechanism for spending?

Im not sure. I do know the US has fifty years of belligerent foreign policy that has required an ever growing defense budget.

So, i agree we shouldnt be reductive....which is a tendency of threads like this. My real point was only that defense spending is huge in the US...and corporations that specialize in defense are doing quite well...as are the private security firms...so it must influence policy to no small extent...but for certain this is alongside a host of other factors.

beatroot said...

Agreed. (Ooops, in danger of consensus, here).

And Harry. The remark you made about a 'brown smear' in Kuba's smalls is...well...a smear campaign against Kuba, and totally off subject.

srg said...

"beatroot said...
Anonymous (please, please give yourself a name – (Ireland’s finance minister, Bank O’Mat would do )"

Beatroot,

I see, when there is more than one "anonymous" in conversation, it gets a bit confusing.


"You are making the huge presumption that the US/UK occupation has, and is, having a positive influence. And if it is not having a positive influence then it must be having a bad influence."

You are concentrating on current situation as given by mass media, which has natural inclination for showing bad, worse and dramatic.
Think about what good influence there was, is or can be. (Try to see the glass half full rather than half empty.)

The problem might be in short term thinking of invaders. If they change perspective and start to see Irak as their responsibility (and I do not even mind if call it colony) for years to come, the focus of their actions will shift to whats really important.

My feeling is that today people in Irak do not want democracy as badly as they need basics - security, jobs, stability, faith in future. (Simple hierarcy of the needs.) And the one who will give it to them - will be the hero, no matter be it second Saddam, H.Clinton of the US or the General Secretary of the comunist party of China.


"Thinking that someone from the outside can persuade others that democracy would be good for them, was part of the mistake. Democracy in say UK and US came from genuine indigenous movements in those countries. People won democracy and freedoms for themselves."


Agree completely. This is the fact that most of the people miss when they speak about western democracy - it is the result of evolution of certain societies and can not be imported or exported.

Another aspect of it is that democracy is not a value in itself. It is only as good as it serves people. Not people in general, but the very specific people in a very specific society. For example a democratic society which has a civil war going on for 100 years would probably be better of on changing from democracy to autocracy or even to monarchy for some time.

As awkward as it sounds, often you need to make step back to continue forward.


" beatroot said...
Of course, there is pressure and influence on governments from the military (and oil) sectors. But governments act in an overall context. And that context today is ‘war on terror’ post cold war. It’s those factors which dictating what is going on, disastrously, today."


In general, regarding your argument with Steppx:

I have to side with Steppx here. You know, in the beginning of the invasion on Irak, when everyone was sure that was about oil, russian military published an analytical report that was attributing the push for war within the US to the need to field test new military technologies. And the values concerned were in the range of billions or trillions of USD. Basically it looks like a laboratory tests that you need to make to finalise products and get the government contracts for the next two decades.
If you look from this prospective, the whole war in Irak makes a lot of sense from micro-economic point of view. Makroeconomicly, I suppose, it is also one of the engines of the US economy.

As to "overall context" that is today "war on terror", I suspect that Bush, meeting with his business sponsors, said something like that: "the overall context wil be whatever we want it to be".

What you call "overall context" is just the US mass media environment created by the US gov PR specialists. And the rationale for its existance is to facilitate the acceptance of the "reason to believe" the US government will offer for its next project. (Reason to belive in case of war in Irak was WMD it was "developing".) It is easy to see how many things you can sell under the umbrella of "war on terror".

No offense for our american friends, but selling the war to the sheep in front of the TVs there is pretty much the same as selling toothpaste, detergent or super hyper new mp-3 player. Democrats or cons or new-cons, or whatever you call them, they have one thing in common - natural absense of critical thinking. That makes it possible to sell them so many bullshits, and that manifests itself in unique combination of naive ignorance and arrogance -which maks 80% of the "why" other nations do not like americans.


And, Steppx,

You make a lot of sense, but that slang you are using does not help. Loaded words like "imperialist" or "classes" distract attention from what you are saying. Lots of people nowdays suffer from communist fobia.

Harry said...

Sorry BR, I was just wondering if Kuba would actually fight in the war he is winning for all of us or if he would follow the example of his leader and pull every string he could to avoid any risk of damage to his cowardly skin. Obvously he would, so perhaps he would be so kind to take his fucktard gungho bullshit to another blog, one where other cowards talk shit. This isn't the place for that.

Kuba said...

Harry,
I know you are only 12 and I know the world must seem a sad place to be for you just now, but, please, don't hate me even more for what I am going to tell you as I only want what is best for you and be sure its not easy:
...I am talking about your dirty underwear fixation, Harry! ...Having carefully conidered pros and cons I eventually made up my mind to turn down your desperate (I know!)call for anything personal "With a huge yellow streak" and "a large brown smear". Again, don't think bad of me, Harry, I know you'd now gladly have me killed in any war, the bigger the better, but it will all heal with time; fresh air every day and some exercise work wonders, believe you me!
It may be a bit lousy consolation, but I'll tell you this, too: I have actually made a whole-hearted attempt to recover a specimen of the kind you desire - alas, all my pants and stuff are instantly laundered, so no chance of even the smallest of dots not to speak of 'huge' and 'large'! Sorry, I guess that means you'll have to get by on your own (hopefully plentiful) supplies for a while and pray the Lord keeps you from constipation...
I wish you all the best
uncle k

10:18 PM

Kuba said...

Harry, harry, harry - behave, my boy!
be thankfull to whomever you worship that a.)I'm patient with retards b.) that this reality you're in is virtual, because if we actualy met and 'a.' turned out untrue, I'd kick your monkey ass from here to there. Now, go to sleep...

beatroot said...

I think ittime you both stopped this. It got nasty.

Kuba said...

aait im out

geez said...

Why should the merchants of death care where the wars are? War is war is profitable. It makes more sense that the guys who decided on invading Iraq did so primarily because of oil.

Damo said...

Just found your blog. Enjoyed your piece on the anniversary of the Iraq war. This is what myself and a few of the typical anarchist types;)) did last Sunday:
http://peacenikhurler.blogspot.com/2007/03/remembering-victims-of-iraq-war.html

It sure is a mess in Iraq - the Guardian have quite an interesting recent video interview with then man iconically portrayed as the one who attempted to single-handedly bring down Sadaam's statue. He spent 9 years in jail for criticising the former regime and yet the situation is so chronis he now believes it was better under Sadaam.

Of course, it's a crap choice to be forced into drawing such comparisons but quite an insight as to how the sanctions, invasion, and ongoing occupation has unleashed unfettered violence into a country already saturated with a history of animosity.

Over and out for tonight, and very happy to have found your blog.

By the way, I'm Irish and currently residing in Warsaw.

Harry said...

You're right BR, it did get nasty. Debate always gets nasty the second that a racist coward joins it. And Kuba is clearly a racist(the monkey comment for example) and a coward(happy to make threats and talks about how tough the USA is but won't go and fight in any war himself). Let's hope he doesn't come back here.

Kuba said...

Harry - shut up and listen I am going to talk to you like you're worth the while:

I entered here as someone with different views and feeling strongly about it, I have expressed mine; In doing so I did let my emotions go in this way or the other - but Harry:
...when I called this or another fella stupid, I was making it known what I think of this or another's post here, post which I have read. I did not call no-one a coward, what know I of that?
I gave my reasons for thinking what I think - others might have foun unconvincing, failed to comprehend, whatever - it was all within confines of (sharp) discussion. I got back what I threw at them: they said mine was 'complete and utter bullshit', I was advised to go to a doctor...and Harry it was all just fine! - me and my adversaries, we stuck to one convention and even when one dude came with a bright idea of sending me to a war, I just laughed - one, 'cause its funny by itself and two, because the fact that I have been to wars made it unexpectedly ironic - the fact I wasn't going to mention; nobody needed know this, all was cool ...
...and then, Harry, you pop up with crap of your futile aggression and your 'coward'...and even then I tried to laugh you off thinking you're just one of those ever-angry butt-biters - I had some fun even then...
...but you had to come again with the same and now you're doing it for the third time...
So heed this:
you are on the net, you feel safe and cosy so you talk your talk but I actually walked the walk where there was not exactly safe never mind cosy - not Iraq, but just as nasty. I went there as a volunteer, as a Catholic Nationalist, as you like to label it, because I have made it my business that somewhere there people are stripped of their lives by truckloads and it didn't matter they were Muslims - I went like I was. I fought, saw things you see on tv and things you don't, I came back home, couldn't take it and went there again. I never regreted, neither am I proud of it, but if I had not done it, only then ,Harry, I would be a racist coward. I am going to leave it at that.

polish boy scout said...

kuba -- Ever hear of the idea that the guy in the foxhole is the one least likely to know wtf is going on?

and omg, did you go to fight for Franco, having fought as a "Catholic Nationalist"? I am assuming that you are either rather elderly or disabled since given your vehement (I'll be kind and not designate it rabid) "walk the walk" demeanor, if you are not a coward, it would make sense for you to be "walking the walk" today.

beatroot said...

Kuba – my ‘doctor’ jibes were cause I couldn’t understand what you were talking about, and I was not being totally serious. Still not really sure what you have been arguing.

But in the last few posts you and Harry have been creating lots of heat, but little light.

So maybe it would be better to start again.

What exactly is your point? And have you been smoking something?

Kuba said...

beatroot, about doctor jibes - i wrote it in bold types: It was all right with me ok? No offence taken. Its cool!!
Everything aside: why do you, people not read what's been written? It might actually clear a lot! The answer as to whether i had been smoking is there, too alongside answers to other querries.
Forgive me, but I am not gonna repeat it not least because watching a wet paint dry is more sensible than devoting even smallest portion of energy to any serious attempts at shining light on you people - you are, however, giving me a genuine entertainment from time to time - and thank you for that!
yours
qb

beatroot said...

:-)

Dan Brown said...

We're on the same wavelength, Kuba!

Kuba said...

dan brown -We're on the same wavelength, Kuba
...I hear you. Nice to know!

AmericanPoloniaphile said...

When I consider Poland's involvement in Iraq I always get back to the same though: surprise that Poland ever does anything with the US and Britain anymore. Neither country is a particluarly reliable ally. (Although, granted, probably one of the least bad options.) Has either ever shown any appreciation for anything that Poles have done for it?

I say this out of shame, BTW, not mockery -- but seriously, as the saying goes: "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice..."

Polcham said...

It's very hard for me to look at American Muslims, or Muslims in general, or anyone who considers themselves "liberal" or "progressive" or "humanist," who claim to stand for freedom and human rights and then attack everything America has done and tried to do in Iraq over the last four years.

The fact is that the naysayers claimed we weren't really striving for liberation. We were. They claimed we'd install a new puppet dictator. We did not. They claimed that we wouldn't really try to set up a democracy. We did. They claimed there would be no legitimate elections. The Iraqis had three national elections in a row, all certified as legitimate by international observers, not even counting the local elections that were held before that.

They claimed we'd do everything possible to get out of the country "before the next elections"--they claimed that before the 2004 elections and again before the 2006 elections. It didn't happen. Now these same people in many cases are cheering for a Congress that's trying to force us out of Iraq even though the war supporters consistently say "no, that would be morally and strategically wrong."

Time after time the naysayers have proven themselves both morally and intellectually incoherent, and yet they never have the introspection to acknowledge this.

Furthermore, anyone calling himself a "liberal" or a "humanist"--Muslim or not--is in my view faced with a stark choice:

You either sit around pretending that a vicious, murderous, fascist "insurgency" that routinely cuts people's heads off and shoots children in the face is the "legitimate voice of the Iraqi people," or you recognize that there is in Iraq a government elected by the Iraqi people working under a Constitution written entirely by Iraqis that recognizes human rights better than any in the Arab world.

No matter how many reservations you have about how it was done or how imperfectly that elected government implements the ideals expressed in that ratified Constitution.

If you take the former position you have no business calling yourself a liberal or a progressive or a humanist. If you take the latter position, then maybe you have to swallow the bitter pill that someone named George Bush, whom you don't like and maybe think is incompetent, was the instigator of something that damn well needs to be supported.

But you can't have it both ways. Indeed, by declaring the whole thing illegitimate, all you're doing is siding with the Islamophobes of the world who claim the Muslims and the Arabs are far too savage, backward, and primitive to respect things like democracy and human rights. Indeed, you're implicitly siding the the Jihadwatch crowd.

It's high time someone told you people this, whether you're Muslims or not.

The progressive, humanist position is not, and never has been, the "anti-war" position.

geez said...

Thank you Christopher Hitchens.

beatroot said...

The fact is that the naysayers claimed we weren't really striving for liberation. We were.

I honestly believe you. Thing is, the neo-con ideology that driver his was wrong and deliriously naive. YOU CANNOT IMPOSE DEMOCRACY.