“No blood for oil” was the mantra on February 15th, 2003 as millions of demonstrators took to the streets during a world wide protest against the imminent invasion of Iraq by the “Coalition of the Willing.” Unfortunately, although the voice of the people may have been heard, it was not heeded. I still remember watching the first televised images of the invasion later that spring. As American cruise missiles slammed into the city of Baghdad, and massive fireballs lit up the night sky, I couldn’t help but thinking to myself - those poor people. In times of war, it is always the civilians whom inevitably bear the greatest burden. Even a basic understanding of history reveals this unfortunate fact. It is what Donald Rumsfeld may chose to refer to as a “known known.” But why was the invasion initiated?
Evident by the mass protests, many people at the time knew that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction - or “freedom” - and that it was, in fact, primarily an oil grab. Still, there was a part of me that held on to the notion that, in a western democracy such as the United States, there are supposed to be checks and balances in place that were envisioned to prevent a small, yet extremely influential group of people, from leading a “democratic” nation into a totally unnecessary and illegal war. Yet the U.S. Congress and major media outlets did not fulfill their expected roles and, consequently, the policies of George W. Bush’s administration directly led to the death of countless innocent people. I now realize how naive I was.
Over a decade later, the evidence is clear - Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, and Iraq posed no imminent threat to the United States of America. Yet, what has been the consequence for those individuals who made the fateful decision to invade Iraq based on bogus intelligence. A decision that was extremely lucrative for the small group of people who set the policies, but had horrific consequences for everyone else involved.
Today, Iraq is in ruins. Yet, in a region that possesses such enormous wealth, how is this possible? What ever happened to the reconstruction efforts and infrastructure promised by Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush? Did they not guarantee that the “costs” of war could be paid for by oil revenue? Where did the money go? Is it not yet clear that the grandiose neoconservative social experiment in Iraq has been a complete debacle? Is the rise of I.S.I.S. not a direct, and logical, consequence of the de-Baathification policies of the Coalition Provisional Authority and the disbanding of the Iraqi military in 2003? Is the world any safer now? Are the people of Iraq now better off?
The task of trying to understand the actual factors that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq is made exponentially more difficult by the convoluted layers of deception, propaganda, and lies that surround the war. Yet, if there is one thing that is crystal clear, it is that the truth was intentionally obscured, and that the Bush administration purposefully misled the American people. Regardless, I have identified three distinct, yet inextricably linked, reasons for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
#1 Oil. The desire to secure a monopoly of the precious, yet limited, oil reserves in the Middle East was undoubtedly a primary factor. No sane person can deny this fact. Bush and his neoconservative allies wanted the oil - and they took it - despite the grave cost that others had to pay.
#2 Money. The economic interests of those people, including Dick Cheney, who directly profited from the invasion of Iraq, and who continue to financially benefit from the ensuing violence, pose a greater threat to international peace and stability than even those groups that they claim to be fighting. As long as the people who make the decision to initiate a conflict have the most to financially gain from the violence that ensues, the capitalist nations of the west will remain in a perpetual state of war. The power and influence that the Military Industrial Complex has on the United States government should not be underestimated.
#3 Zionism. The desire to protect Israel, expand her borders, and secure, at the very least, regional domination, continues to serve as a destabilizing force in the Middle East. The undue influence that Zionist ideology has on U.S. foreign policy is generally unacknowledged by mainstream American society. Nonetheless, the zealous and fundamentalist nature of Zionism, and the willingness of its proponents to use violence to actively achieve their goals, far exceeds any level of fanaticism yet to be approximated by radical Islam.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq was never about WMD’s or “freedom,” but rather it was about oil, profit and Israel. Greed and power have always been the cause of war, and convincing the masses that they face an imminent danger has always been an effective tool used by the ‘powers that be’ to justify the use of bludgeoning force.
The songs I have written and recorded for this album are inspired by those individuals who marched in 2003 in a vain attempt to stop a war that George W. Bush dubiously claimed was “brought upon” the people of the United States. It is inspired by those who - through peaceful means - seek some sort of justice and redemption for the people of Iraq. It is inspired by individuals who continue to speak to the illegitimacy of the invasion, individuals who have made documentaries and youtube videos, as well as those who have written books, articles, blogs, columns, and engaged in conversations that all try to shed some insight into the tragic, illegal and immoral decision to invade Iraq.
It is dedicated to those individuals who realize that there are corporate and private interests that transcend democratic institutions and ultimately dominate the decision making process in most any industrialized nation. It is dedicated to those individuals who remain a part of the effort to get these assholes up on charges of war crimes. Would not an acknowledgement by the west, as to the criminal nature of George W. Bush’s actions invariably go a lot farther to bridge the gap between radical Islam and the western world more than any amount of bombing and violence?
These songs are also dedicated to the coalition soldiers who, after being persuaded by the Bush administration that Hussain was involved in the 9/11 attacks, and that his WMD program posed an imminent threat to the security of the United States and its allies, bravely answered the call of duty. It is also dedicated to the Iraqi insurgents who desperately resisted the invasion and subsequent occupation of their territory by a foreign force. Bush can label them all “terrorists,” but would he not pick up a gun and fight if a foreign military force came from the other side of the planet in order to exploit the resources of North America? He is a hypocrite - and a war criminal.
Finally, this album is dedicated to the civilians of Iraq - both living and dead - whom, after suffering under the cruel, dictatorial and repressive policies of Saddam Hussein, found themselves the tragic victims of the grossly misconceived and misguided policies of the U.S. Neoconservatives. If this monumental crime continues to fade from public conscience, and the death of over 1 million civilians is just brushed under the rug, then why Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, Ari Fleischer and George Tenet, amongst others, are not rotting away in a jail cell right now is beyond me. They are criminals of the worst sort and terrorists of the greatest magnitude.
Love Songs for Iraq