Thursday, January 11, 2007

Protest reflections: The war and its lubricant

The candle-light protest/vigil held at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Capitol Highway Thursday evening certainly won't sway the president, but it is part of a national effort that is changing the minds and building the resolve of others.

Particularly hearting was the participation of high school students.

When Ruth Atkins, the protest organizer, invited me to read aloud the name of one of our fallen Oregon soldiers, David Weisenburg of Portland, a sudden grief and a renewed resolve welled up in my voice.

The broad public is finally getting it about this war and this president. The large majority seems set on holding the new Congress, peace's new power player, to the November mandate for change.

What the public still doesn't get—at its peril—is the real, one-word cause of the war: oil.

We need to make the oil connection crystal clear—particularly to this young generation. Today's youth will be living with the consequences the oil cartel's connection to the war and to myriad other Bush disasters. Some of those consequences, like global warming, are major and obvious threats to them (and us) now, but will deepen over their lifetimes.

The war is already taking its toll on their generation.

All the Bush/Cheney justifications for the war—WMDs, Saddam, terrorist links, growing democracy—were bogus. This invasion made no sense—and the continued war makes no sense either—unless you follow the oil pipelines. They lead directly to Big Oil and Bush/Cheney-Halliburton. And now we see the Iraq government fall into line, as reported in the British press.

Significantly the American mainstream press has uttered hardly a word about oil's role in the Iraqi conflict. It is as though the three letters, O-I-L, are a political taboo. Look in vain for the word "oil" in corporate media's voluminous analyses of Bush's speech Wednesday. Indeed, look in vain for any Democratic legislator uttering the word "oil."

It's not enough for the new Democratic congressional majorities to oppose the Bush/Cheney escalation. It's time for Democrats to expose the Big Oil/Bush/Cheney/Republican cabal that has dictated this administration's policies on everything from corporate tax loopholes and tax cuts for the wealthy, to uncollected off-shore oil lease revenues to global warming denial and military intervention.

As we protest in the weeks ahead in Hillsdale and thousands of other American communities, we must understand fully what we are protesting.

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