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A year in the life: Screams, schemes, and oil dreams

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
January 3, 2002


I realize it is a tired cliché, in fact I have heard "ours is a changed world" so many times I am ready to vomit mainly due to the fact it's simply not true. I myself am guilty of misleading the public shortly after September 11th, by declaring America fundamentally changed in the wake of such violence. Boy was I wrong, nothing has changed except our ever shrinking civil liberties, the amount of crap Americans are willing to accept from the national government, and how easy it is for most people to swallow.

Now I could easily spend the next 700 words saying I told you so, but I won't . What I will do however is point out a few things that happened in 2001, how I saw them coming, and where my predictions went wrong. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, even in a world of myopic leaders hindsight is still 20/20.

Shortly before el' Presidente Bush grabbed power, I predicted that if Bush Jr. were to gain access to the oval office, America, within six months, would be at war somewhere in the world. And as history has repeated itself, which it tends to do, Dubya had us knee deep in carnage before summers end. O.K. so my timeline was off by three months, and I figured to Columbia to be the front runner for American aggression, at least I got the war part right.

Now, I know some of you are saying, "Hey, wait a minute , we're the victims here." To which I would agree. The men and women, both heroic and mundane, lost to the terror of fossil fuel and other collateral issues, should be avenged. But to drop "Daisy Cutter" bombs on one of the poorest nations in the world, because they had the misfortune of being held hostage by an intolerant expression of Islamic fundamentalism and a rich Saudi playboy is a little over the top. No?

The whole Afghanistan thing reeks of oil. No Afghani citizen was involved in the September 11th bombings; those most responsible were citizens of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, and United Arab Emirates. Smoke and mirrors baby. Call me a liberal, but I just don't see the virtue of meeting terror with terror. I'm a "avoid terror at all costs" type of individual, compounding the problem with more death and destruction seems senseless. Phase one of the "War on Terror" is really about unloading out-dated armaments while making room for a transnational pipeline.

One thing I didn't see coming was the mainstream media's slavish devotion to America's New War. This isn't mere wagging of dog, what we are experiencing is a wagging of the kennel with all the talking heads say nothing over and over while the Bush Administration quietly puts in place environmental policy that favors multinational corporations at the expense of native people and fragile wilderness.

As John Ashcroft prepares his case against domestic terrorist groups such as Greenpeace, and Earth First, Gayle Norton has been busy selling out America's natural heritage to the lowest bidder. Yet no media. The only place to find American journalists is sniffing bomb craters for signs of Osama. Obviously the open pit mine soon to be blasted near Glamis does not warrant news coverage. Nor does the fact Interior Secretary Gayle Norton vacated an early ruling denying a Canadian conglomerate the right to operate a mine on federal land.

If this were the Wizard of Oz the American media would be playing every role except Toto. Why are the so afraid to look behind the curtain? If Ashley Banfield wants to see the war up close and personal she need only look past it to what is really going on. Under the cover of retribution, the Bush Administration is pimping out our natural heritage to thank those that contributed to his war chest. Perhaps the media is unwilling to admit its own complicity. When you clear a way all the propaganda it really about consumption and capitalism. The two things the media needs to survive.

So now I will make a new prediction; In 2002 America will remain at war, both abroad, and with itself. As there is still blood in the water, this is just the beginning of the chaos. What with Pakistan and India rattling swords, Palestinians refusing to be crushed by Israel, and George wanting to finish what daddy started in Iraq we are in for a very bumpy ride.

Who knows we still might make it to Columbia. They have oil too.

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