Comments: Tra La La La

boy, those hawks will sure think twice before advocating another war, after this revelation!

Posted by druff at November 12, 2009 12:44 PM

How low do you have to be to be defending the likes of Richard perle in the first place?

Posted by darrelplant at November 12, 2009 01:16 PM

OK, OK. So, let me get this straight. This Peter somehow fooled everyone into going to war with Iraq, so that he could hook up with a Norwegian oil company, so that he could advise the Kurds to keep more money for themselves, so that he could get paid money for that advice.

That proves what, exactly, other than the fact that Mr. Galbraith made money by advising the Kurds to reap more profits from their own resources, with the help of a Norwegian oil firm?

The Norwegian oil firm, also, took advantage of the situation after-the-fact, and the Norwegian government didn't really support the war at all, nor do they have any ties to DNO.

So... What's this more than stringing a bunch of stuff together and pretending it means more than it does?

Yeah, I mean, it's totally horrible that the Kurds are profiting from their own oil, that oil money would be better off in the hands of Saddam Hussein.

Right guys?

Posted by George at November 12, 2009 01:19 PM

No, this demonstrates explicitly what anyone with any degree of critical forethought who isn't actively immersing themselves in cognitive dissonance knows: that the policy makers instrumental in the Iraq war are highly embedded with oil interests. And yet the hawks continue to feign that they cannot conceive that there's any connection between policy and financial interests.

Posted by Jack at November 12, 2009 01:29 PM
Yeah, I mean, it's totally horrible that the Kurds are profiting from their own oil, that oil money would be better off in the hands of Saddam Hussein.

Right guys?

I will never cease to amazed by what some people will leap to endorse. Human beings are clearly pack animals, and we have genes that make us (some of us more than others) desperate to defend the current Head Monkeys, whomever they may be.

For instance, in George's desperation he didn't even bother to read the article or learn anything at all about oil in Iraq. Someone is criticizing the Head Monkeys! No time to think! ATTACK!!!!!!

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at November 12, 2009 01:29 PM

"So... What's this more than stringing a bunch of stuff together and pretending it means more than it does?"-George

George I think it has more to do with the sanctimonious rationalizations advocates of the assault on Iraq used to defend themselves from the obvious observation that the war was primarily a massive resource grab by those with strong oil industry connections. People like... Peter Galbraith.

Posted by Coldtype at November 12, 2009 01:30 PM

No, George, not right. Kurdistan is not a state, and they don't have any oil of "their own".

Peter Galbraith was part of a chorus of lies that led to an immoral invasion that has cost the lives of a million dead Iraqis, millions more driven from their country, and thousands of American lives - for the sake of his own personal greed.
But, I guess, if you're happy when the American military is used for those reasons, then it's no big deal.

Posted by Ken at November 12, 2009 01:34 PM

Damn, George, it really doesn't bother you that the guy was instrumental in promoting a war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars, and then walked off with a $100 million pay check? Where I come from, that's called "dealing in death." I guess where you come from, it's another day at the office. Sounds like an office in Washington.

But it's not so much promoting the war, odious as that was: he's been closely involved in pushing the cause of de facto, if not de jure, Kurdish independence. Whatever the merits, his standing to do so comes from his rep. as an ambassador, a serious foreign policy guy, who is acting in the best interest of his country -- i.e., the USA. He shows up and testifies before Congress as to what should be done, and he has the President's ear. And now we learn that he is getting a secret sweetheart deal to cash in on Kurdish oil. How, exactly, is that not self-dealing of the crassest kind? And, are we really supposed to have our foreign policy made by self-interested sleazeoid lobbyists for foreign powers?

I mean, that is how things have traditionally gone, especially with respect to our Middle Eastern policy, but I for one would like to see some changes made, and throwing Gailbraith to the wolves sounds like a damn great place to start.

Posted by Egypt Steve at November 12, 2009 01:40 PM

George,

A trusted advisor who is secretly invested in interests which could conflict with his clients' (US and Iraq) best interests MUST be suspected of prioritizing his own interests over those of the governments he advises.

In this particular case, the APPEARANCE of impartiality is just as important as impartiality itself, because the situation validates a widespread Iraqi concern for which there was otherwise little or no evidence. It STINKS of governmental manipulation and corruption. The reaction to the news is not going to be minor.

Your response is so typical of neocons - no thought for logical consequences. If A then B, pal. My advice is to drop the wishful thinking and lame excuses, and start thinking things through realistically.

Posted by White Hat at November 12, 2009 01:52 PM

One would think a putative conservative would be concerned that private entities are receiving benefits from the taxpayers that they did not earn. If junkies could make the whole country decide to spend the money to invade Colombia to steal all the cocaine so they could snort some and keep all the profits, Fox News would be on super red alert and Glenn Beck wouldn't know what to do, as cocaine would suddenly be unpatriotic.

Posted by Dick Hertz at November 12, 2009 01:52 PM

Galbraith is the servant of a military-industrial vampire that thrives on blood. The civilian casualty rate in WW2 was five percent. Since WW2 we have funded an unnecessary standing army that flips that ratio on its head. Ninety-five percent third world civilian casualty rates are the bread and butter of the United State's rapacious war machine. To fuel its greed, this corrupt monstrosity requires human targets and it will have them, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or somewhere else. The nation-states our military is constantly "building" are the graveyards we leave behind everywhere we go.

Posted by Orley Allen at November 12, 2009 02:03 PM

Galbraith was advocating for a forced partition of Iraq despite the massive human catastrophe forecast by many as the likely outcome of such an endeavor. Of course such a partition would have made it much easier for Mr. Galbraith, I am sorry the Kurds, profit from their own oil. Because we did not follow his pure and impartial and, most importantly, humanitarian advice, the poor man has had to wait all these years. The burden of empire is sometimes difficult to bear.

Posted by empty at November 12, 2009 02:47 PM

I feel the true victim in all this is Richard Cohen.

Posted by Baldie McEagle at November 12, 2009 03:02 PM

So georgie would rather he himself have gone to Iraq, or better still, sent his children, so that saddam heussein would not profit from the Kurds' oil? Darwinism is action!

Posted by larry, dfh at November 12, 2009 03:19 PM

So georgie would rather he himself have gone to Iraq, or better still, sent his children, so that saddam heussein would not profit from the Kurds' oil? Darwinism is action!

Posted by larry, dfh at November 12, 2009 03:19 PM

Shouldn't the U.S. Treasury get back some of the money from politicos and foreign oil companies that are reaping the benefit of our expensive interdiction in Iraq. To riff Colin Powell-- "We Broke it, don't we own it?"

Posted by DG at November 12, 2009 03:36 PM

My vote for best comment goes to, drum roll please . . .

"I feel the true victim in all this is Richard Cohen."

Posted by N E at November 12, 2009 03:50 PM

I can understand Perle being righteously offended, though. For him personally the strongest incentive wasn't oil but arms trade.

Posted by abb1 at November 12, 2009 03:56 PM

Cohen has so many entries in the Hall of Infamy, but that remains one of my favorites. (I remember the earlier post on Greenspan and "oil.")

Posted by Batocchio at November 12, 2009 03:58 PM

On the other hand, if the contracts that Saddam had with various, mostly Russian oil companies were still in place, Pete Galbraith didn't get a 100 million bucks and the Kurds got little to no oil revenue and we had no war, no millions displaced and at least a million people killed, that would have been bad.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at November 12, 2009 04:02 PM

Please forgive me for the shameless self-promotion of older posts from my older blooig, but remember when Richard Perle got a shoe thrown at him?

(Ah, 2005. I think Obama still supported single payer back in those days.)

Posted by Jonathan Versen at November 12, 2009 04:16 PM

Well, that certainly is sleazy. Some of his brother Jim's writings are good, so it's too bad they have the same family name. I hope the Iraqi government nullifies his contracts, but first, as a matter of fundamental due process, they really should hold hearings in Baghdad to give him the opportunity to explain that he had not concealed his motive to profit from Iraqi oil while making all his public statements about the importance of Kurdish autonomy. A person should have a right to confront his accusers, wherever they may be.

Posted by N E at November 12, 2009 04:18 PM

So have Perle and Cohen apologized to Kucinich yet?

Posted by Russ B at November 12, 2009 04:27 PM

Here's a question: Does Galbraith have any financial ties to Abdullah Abdullah? What does he stand to gain by Karzai stepping down?

Posted by David at November 12, 2009 04:33 PM

George:
I don't think anyone else has bothered to mention this - it's probably too obvious - but the Kurds don't have a state oil company, with drills, refineries, trucks, . . . they would have to make a deal with a company that DID have such resources in order to benefit from "their oil".
Do you think the Kurds would end up with all the profits?
Part of the profits?
A deal where the U.S. army keeps the Iraqis from killing them in exchange for their oil?
Still think Galbraith did nothing wrong?

Posted by James7344 at November 12, 2009 04:40 PM

Re: P. Galbraith's eventual ties to Abd.Abd,: he would be a fool not to have a corner on something. Certainly not something as evil or illegal as a portion of the opium export trade, whether through Abd.Abd. or other warlord. But whoever has friends in Washington and media carte blanche must have leverage to sell, whether it's major, or as minor as helping someones son get a place at Harvard.
But whatever his other alleged faults, his standing there in the pose of the founders of our constitution; albeit that of Iraq's; does gripe me in a major way.

Posted by idealist707 at November 12, 2009 06:37 PM

Actually, Galbraith isn't a Kurd, so that 100 million dollars isn't going to a Kurd. George is somewhat mixed up. In the same way, he is somewhat mixed up about who profits from the Kurdish oil - the two paramilitary groups that control the government are as friendly to their common people as, say, Mobuto was to Zaire. Now in some ways, Mobotu raking off a billion and keeping it in Swiss banks could be seen as a definite win for the Zairians! And I'm sure, as they starved, they were grateful that they were all so rich.

On the other hand, maybe not. Similarly, Peter Galbraith is an American, but somehow I don't feel richer because he has 100 million dollars. But you must, George! I imagine whenever a rich plutocrat rakes in corrupt money, you feel that much prouder of being an American.
Which is sad for you, your family, your children and your community.

Posted by roger at November 12, 2009 07:16 PM

Duff said:
"Boy, those hawks will sure think twice before advocating another war, after this revelation!"

No they won't.

One could only wish. One of the really surprising things about the Bush administration was how brazenly and flagrantly they flaunted their disregard for principle, for American values, and for the law. They've never been embarrassed by anything, but at least they had the good sense to pretend in the past. Not any longer.

Posted by Terry5135 at November 12, 2009 10:25 PM

That's a good point, Terry (though you're evidently deaf to sarcasm/irony). It might be worth remembering, though, that there's really no reason why Bush and the other hawks should be embarrassed, since no one who matters has noticed the Bushites' disregard for principle, for American values (I wonder which ones you have in mind?), and the law. Certainly not the Democrats, including our new (though he's getting less shiny new by the week) President, who's quite content to continue the Bushites' policies and behavior in Iraq and domestically, keeping his eyes fearlessly on the future.

Posted by Duncan at November 12, 2009 10:41 PM

I am so angry and disappointed!!! Seriously, where is my cut in all of this swindling?!?!

Posted by King of all Cynics at November 13, 2009 03:38 AM

King of all the Cynics:

Your most righteous excellency, your people are up in arms. . .

Posted by N E at November 13, 2009 06:40 AM

obama toughens up on mcchrystal
is it real or only a show
it still feels like condi and kristol
seems like peace is still a no go.

Posted by jeff montanye at November 13, 2009 07:49 AM

What cracks me up about George's comment, was, when i first read Glennzilla's piece, i was thinking, you know, there's plenty of people that won't see anything wrong with this. . .

Is it just me, or is this just the most insane century? or just another day in Oz...

Posted by dean jordan at November 13, 2009 08:02 AM

The civilian casualty rate in WW2 was five percent. Since WW2 we have funded an unnecessary standing army that flips that ratio on its head. Ninety-five percent third world civilian casualty rates are the bread and butter of the United State's rapacious war machine. To fuel its greed, this corrupt monstrosity requires human targets and it will have them, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or somewhere. --Orley Allen

Is this true? Is it ever mentioned in the mass media? If people knew, wouldn't they rise up and end the carnage?

Posted by Rosemary Molloy at November 13, 2009 08:12 AM

@ N E:

Then I shall offer the masses a candidate that will promise them free Health Care to all, an end to War, and Peace throughout the World... He shall promise a reversal to our economic woes, an end to the Cronyism and Corruption that plaques our Halls of Power, and will bring Justice to the Weak and Defenseless... He shall be Asian, so that Trivial History can be made... his hypnotic Mantra will be Change, Change, Change, Change, Change, so that the people can forget about Me and my Minions...

And His name Shall be Phuc Yu...

These are Beautiful Times!!!

Posted by King of all Cynics at November 13, 2009 08:52 AM

The civilian casualty rate in WW2 was much higher than 5%, especially using the criteria most of us would apply to Iraq since 2003. It's true that the US (and to a far lesser extent the UK) experienced relatively few civilian deaths, but that was the exception, not the rule, particularly in Russia and the Asian countries. Civilian deaths were about 2/3 of the total deaths resulting from WW2.

Posted by rs at November 13, 2009 09:47 AM

Rosemary Molloy:

We have a rapacious war machine that creates enormous numbers of civilian casualties, but the civilian casualty rate in WWII was high too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties.

If people knew that our military kills mostly civilians, not soldiers, maybe that would affect their views. But most people would probably still just assume that the military is protecting us and trying to do the right thing and certainly not trying to kill more innocent people than absolutely necessary. This attitude actually has something to do with the subject of Stanley Milgram's research, deference to authority, a subject I just happened to say something about to Marcus. There seems to be more deference to military authority than any other.

The pervasive trust of and respect for the military is actually a big problem. People respect discipline, sacrifice, honor, commitment, and duty, so they don't look past them to challenge militarism and its actual consequences. This is not unique to the United States. I've just started reading Gordon Zahn's 1964 biography of Franz Jaegerstaetter, an otherwise ordinary Austrian who was beheaded in 1943 for refusing on religious grounds to fight in the German army. Interestingly to me, no one else in Jaegerstaetter's village agreed with his decision even in retrospect. They liked him, but DESPITE his sacrifice, not because of it. Even in the 1960s, Zahn reports that they all seemed to think that he should have done his duty and fought in the war. Apparently WWII wasn't enough to shake up their belief system, which does raise the question of what could ever have shaken it up.

In WWI the civilian casualty rate wasn't as high as WWII, and the willingness of those in power to sacrifice a generation of boys led some people as otherwise enlightened as one George Orwell to say that perhaps bombing cities wasn't so objectionable because it might make people hate war enough to put an end to it. As we know, it didn't work out that way.

War will end when international institutions with real power make it unprofitable and not worth the risks, and not a moment before then. The effort of Woodrow Wilson to give teeth to the League of Nations was correct, and it's a pity he failed, especially for all those people whose lives are counted among the numbers in that Wikipedia entry I linked, and all those who Orley Allen was referring to, and those being added to the ledgers all the time.

Posted by N E at November 13, 2009 10:01 AM

This is priceless: "indomitable demagogue that he seems to be".

Posted by Richard at November 13, 2009 11:09 AM


Rosemary,

I would suggest "A History of Bombing" by Sven Lindqvist regarding civilian deaths in war...its a terrific book written in a very unique style. Really good.-Tony

http://www.amazon.com/History-Bombing-Sven-Lindqvist/dp/1565848160

Posted by tony at November 13, 2009 11:39 AM

The sad part about this is that when we reach peak oil (today? tomorrow? 100 years from now?) this discussion will be used to show how prescient the hawks were and how we were right to take their oil to preserve our freedom.

Posted by Jimbo at November 13, 2009 12:01 PM

Anybody notice that TPM and Josh Marshall made no mention of the Galbraith article?

If you're an aspiring pundit, such things are not to be mentioned in polite company.

Posted by David at November 13, 2009 12:23 PM

N E's playground pedant routine makes me laugh again.

The pervasive trust of and respect for the military is actually a big problem.

No... really? Seriously?

Man... wait. Don't tell me. People need air, food, water, shelter to survive... is that true?

The effort of Woodrow Wilson to give teeth to the League of Nations was correct....

Yes, and Adolf Hitler installing Joseph Goebbels as Minister of Propaganda was correct as well. Fantastic how "correct" can wipe clean the slate of all moral questions.

When you're the Playground Pedant, you can pretend that you're an authority on all that exists. Especially when you get your "knowledge" from the spin offered by books written by people with massive self-interest.

Posted by the anti-federalist at November 13, 2009 01:10 PM

anti-federalist

Stick to insurance. It brings out the sweeter side of your personality.

Posted by N E at November 13, 2009 02:15 PM

No time for sweets when someone's playing pedant by stating the obvious, or mis-stating the truth.

Posted by the anti-federalist at November 13, 2009 02:42 PM

Now I'm interested in finding out what financial interests Galbraith may have had in Croatia.

After all, the US rebuffed all attempts that Serbia made to resolve the civil war, preferring to ethnically cleanse and divide the former Yugoslavia.

Posted by wagelaborer at November 16, 2009 11:44 AM

No, this demonstrates explicitly what anyone with any degree of critical forethought who isn't actively immersing themselves in cognitive dissonance knows: that the policy makers instrumental in the Iraq war are highly embedded with oil interests. And yet the hawks continue to feign that they cannot conceive that there's any connection between policy and financial interests.

Posted by Jack at November 17, 2009 02:17 PM