Sunday, February 17, 2008

And the war drags on . . .

A female suicide bomber's detonation rocked an electrical appliance market on Sunday, killing three people and injuring eight, Iraqi police said.
Once a rarity, this was the fifth female suicide attack this year and the eighth since November.
Also Sunday, two American soldiers were killed, and a U.S. military spokesman said soldiers continue to find weapons caches connected to Iranian-backed militia groups.
In the market in the Karrada neighborhood of east Baghdad, the woman ran from a checkpoint when Iraqi security spotted wires coming from the sleeve of her black beggar's clothes.
She ran toward some shops. Sameer Ahmed saw the woman's face and the wires wrapped around her body. In her mid-30s, she held one of the wires in her hand.
"I am going to explode myself if you come near me!" Ahmed, 43, recalled her warning.
Another shopkeeper brought an assault rifle out of his shop and fired at the woman and she exploded, either by the bullets triggering the bomb or by her own actions, Ahmed said. A military report said it was an Iraqi soldier who fired at the woman, saying she staggered back before detonating near a car. The report also said no one was killed and suggested her possible target was an Iraqi colonel touring the area.

The above is from Steve Lannen and Hussein Khadim's "Another female suicide bomber kills 3 in Iraq" (McClatchy Newspapers). Yes, the violence continues. It never ends. Note the remarks and actions quoted and grasp that a psychiatric hospital was raided last week when the US military insisted that only a woman with mental problems/issues would become a bomber. In other news, Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that in the face of claims that the US military killed innocent Iraqis who were in fact collaborating the US ("Awakening" Council), the US military is now asserting that these 'allies' "have fired on American troops twice in the last two weeks". And so it goes, to steal from Linda Ellerbee or Roberta Flack, as the 'allies' that were supposed to be the 'answer' become a liability.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3959. Tonight? 3963 announced. On the tenth day of the month, 15 deaths of US service members have been announced thus far. But let's keep pretending that presidential elections are going to end the illegal war, that delusion will end the illegal war, right? No, just waste everyone's time. 41 away from the 4,000 marker for those focusing on something other than gas baggery. Just Foreign Policy lists 1,173,743 as the number of Iraqi deaths since the start of the illegal war last week. They haven't updated it today.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 2 lives and left two more people wounded and a Mosul car bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and left four people wounded. Reuters notes US helicopters fired rockets in Jurf Al-Sakhar on Saturday. Reuters notes that 3 people were killed in the Mosul car bombing today.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Nadia Jameel, 17-years-old, was shot dead outside her home in Baquba today.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 5 corpses discovered in Ramadi Saturday and 1 in Hilla. Today Reuters notes 2 corpses were discovered in Baghdad Saturday.

Pru notes Alex Callinicos's "The role of oil in US capitalism" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

"It is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows -- the Iraq war is largely about oil," Alan Greenspan, the arch-Republican ex-chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board, admitted in his memoirs last year.
Oil runs through the history of US capitalism and its efforts to dominate the world. It’s where its greatest business dynasty, the Rockefellers, made their money.
Today the Western oil super-majors and their local rivals still ride high at the top of the global corporate hierarchy.
The transformation of the Bush family from East Coast bankers into Texan oilmen -- symbolized by George Bush, a Yale frat boy masquerading as a cowboy -- demonstrates the attraction of Big Oil.
The Bushes jumped onto the bandwagon after the Second World War. But the dark roots of the US oil industry lie much earlier, in the last decades of the 19th century and the first of the 20th.
There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson's new film, probes these roots. Anderson is a clever, individual director. The spilling of much blood for Iraq's oil must have been in the background when he wrote and directed There Will Be Blood.
The central character, Daniel Plainview, brilliantly played by Daniel Day-Lewis, is proud to be an oilman in California in the opening years of the last century, when the state accounted for 22 percent of world production.
The film is about his efforts to develop an oilfield around a dilapidated town in the southern Californian desert and to get the oil, once extracted, to the market. Plainview struggles to build a pipeline to the sea, which would allow him to bypass the railroads and their extortionate rates, which were set in collusion with the Rockefellers’ monopolistic Standard Oil Trust.
Two of the many powerful scenes in the film have Plainview confront Standard Oil. But he doesn't underline his possessive individualism in the standard American way by appealing to divine justification.
On the contrary, Plainview can’t conceal his contempt for Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), the ambitious young fundamentalist preacher with whom he spars throughout the film.
Perhaps in developing this tension between God and capitalism Anderson is interested in the contrast with contemporary figures such as Bush, for whom such a conflict would be unconceivable.
The film is inspired by Upton Sinclair's novel Oil (1927). Plainview is based on a character whom Sinclair modelled on Edward Doheny.
Like Plainview, Doheny started off a mining prospector but switched to oil. By the 1920s his Pan American Petroleum was producing more crude oil than any of the successors to Standard Oil after the Trust was forced to dissolve itself in 1911.
Doheny was a central figure in the Teapot Dome scandal that ravaged the administration of President Warren Harding in 1922-4. Doheny admitted to a senate committee that he had sent his son with $100,000 in "a little black bag" to his old friend and sometime fellow prospector, secretary of the interior Albert Fall.
In exchange Fall leased oilfields to Doheny and another independent producer, Harry Sinclair.
Fall himself told another senate hearing how oil wells could drain all the oil out of a piece of land they surrounded. "If you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake, and my straw reaches across the room, I'll end up drinking your milkshake."
This scam is pivotal to the climactic confrontation between Plainview and Sunday. But the Teapot Dome scandal and Doheny’s role in it don't figure at all in There will be Blood. This highlights a real limitation in Anderson’s portrait of a driven individual, compelling as it undoubtedly is.
Sinclair's book was part of a much larger political assault on Big Oil in the early decades of the 20th century. After the Iraq catastrophe, the time is surely ripe for another assault. But Anderson’s focus on personality drains the politics out of oil – something that should be impossible.
» email article » comment on article » printable version
© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.
If you found this article useful please help us maintain SW by »
making a donation.

The e-mail address for this site is