Why Do They Hate Us So?
The Bush administration has a way of turning losers into losers with power. Not long ago Jonathan Turley, on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, likened the Bush administration to the Sopranos because of their penchant for hiring criminals and for advancing the careers of those that show a willingness to step right up to the legal line and cross it when necessary. George Bush seems enamored of the “honor among thieves” philosophy of governing, but with so many thieves running the country, we are quickly going broke and are increasingly (mysteriously) viewed by the rest of the world as a threat to world stability. Bush can say that that sentiment is “absurd” all he wants, but our actions (and the results of our actions) speak for themselves.
There is a lot of talk in political circles about our failure to secure Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, but rarely do we hear about the affects of not securing Afghanistan before we hightailed it out of there (abandoning our promises to the Afghan people) and turned our attentions (and military power) toward Iraq. Getting rid of the Taliban was worth the effort, even if Afghanistan wasn’t a terrorist training ground, but we failed to do that, opting instead to run them out of the cities and into the countryside where they could regroup and organize an effort to fight another day, a day that may be right around the corner.
Current President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai was hand picked by the Bush administration to lead the country after the war, but Karzai’s inability to exert influence beyond the city limits has earned him the nickname “Mayor of Kabul”. Whether Karzai is respected by the people of his country or not is of little consequence to the Bush administration. It has long been speculated that our only real interest in Afghanistan is in getting a natural gas pipeline built anyway. Hamid Karzai worked on behalf of Unocal to get that project up and running before the war and despite his waning power, he will be supported by the Bush administration until that pipeline is built. Secretary of State Rice just yesterday restated US commitment to Karzai. He may be a loser, but he’s their loser and they still think he can deliver the goods.
Zalmay Khalilzad, current US ambassador to Iraq (former ambassador to Afghanistan), was also on the Unocal payroll as well as a member of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). Candidates in the Afghan elections say that Khalilzad worked behind the scenes in Afghanistan to ensure a Karzai victory, and once that mission was accomplished, he moved over to Iraq to oversee elections there (where again there were charges of backroom manipulations). With all of the talk about “spreading democracy” in the Middle East and “re-building” Iraq and Afghanistan, you’d almost think we cared about the people there. It’s clear that American interests are being protected in the region, what’s not as clear though, is who’s looking after the interests of the Afghan and Iraqi people.
It’s hard not to think that this is what “stay the course” really means. Stay the course until we have secured access to the oil fields of Iraq. Stay the course until we have built permanent military bases along the future route of the oil pipeline that Unocal wants to build. Stay the course until the objectives of PNAC have been met. The military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq are not about terrorism, WMD, or spreading democracy. They are about securing control of energy reserves in the region. Having our hand on the spigot secures our energy needs, paves the way for obscene profits for American companies and ensures that the US remains the dominant force on the planet. The rest of the world understands this and we would do well to come to terms with it too. If we do, we won’t have to wonder why the rest of the world hates us, the reasons for that become perfectly clear.