Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta
By Gore Vidal
February 4, 2003
In Dreaming War, Gore Vidal continues the critique of the Bush administration
he began in his previous work, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. As
the nation prepares to attack Iraq, Vidal asks: Whose interests are served
by this doctrine of pre-emptive war? Was Afghanistan turned to rubble to avenge
the 3,000 slaughtered on September 11? Or was "the unlovely Osama chosen
on aesthetic grounds to be the frightening logo for our long contemplated
invasion and conquest of Afghanistan?" And while evidence is now being presented
to connect Saddam with 9/11, the current administration are not helped by
"stories in the U.S. press about the vast oil wealth of Iraq which must--for
the sake of the free world--be reassigned to U.S. consortiums." Chat with
Gore Vidal about his book.
MIami Fl: Nazi Germany had many wealthy
Americans making financial gains and had no interest in getting involved
in a European War. If America had gotten in earlier many lives would have
been saved. If we had gotten in any later we may all be speaking German right
now. Political or financial interests aside, is Saddam not a threat?
Gore Vidal: He's certainly not a threat to the U.S. He has been
a threat to some of his Arab neighbors. Presumably they can take care of
him. He's been contained nicely for the last 11 years. I don't see any
urgency in attacking him, because if we do we can be sure he'll use those
weapons we maintain he has.
Minneapolis, MN: What do you predict, in terms of a timetable,
for the US use of force in Iraq, Iran, North Korea? In concise terms, what
do you think are the US Foreign Policy division's true motivations for each
of these areas?
Gore Vidal: The current plan in Washington is that the war will
begin the last week in February against Iraq. At the moment we have no plans
for North Korea.
The true motivations are that the government is in the hands of oil and gas
people. The two Bushes, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and so on. The oil reserves
of the world are dwindling, and the greatest reserves or all are around the
Caspian Sea, which is why we're in Afghanistan, which is the gateway to that
area. We have 100,000 troops in that area and two new airbases. Richmond, VT: What would Myra Breckenridge say about this President?
Gore Vidal: Myra would probably want to bring back the old comedians
like Jack Benny. She'd prefer him as President. Silver Spring, Maryland: Mr. Vidal, What a treat! I've loved
everything you've written---including the recent spat w/ Dominic Dunne in
Vanity Fair's letter pages. Here is my question: Why is the blue-collar
middle-class, middle American more willing to accept massive taxation and
military spending for vague regional objectives rather than reasonable spending
on social domestic issues that concern the entire nation.
Gore Vidal: I would suppose that it's because they are the most
consistently lied to, and have less access to information. TV news is not
very instructive. They know they're being lied to. They're puzzled and exploited. BALTIMORE, MD: MR. VIDAL, COULD YOU SPECULATE ON WHAT YOUR DISTANT
COUSIN MR. GORE WOULD HAVE DONE AS PRESIDENT HAD 9/11 HAPPENED ON HIS WATCH?
Gore Vidal: I don't think he would have gone fleeing around the
country like a rabid bat. I think he would have taken charge as Commander
in Chief at the Pentagon, and he would have gone after Osama bin Laden and
perhaps found him. Columbus OH: What, in your opinon, will be the longterm consequences
(material, political, ethical, etc.) for the US of a war with Iraq--even of
a war that is concluded very quickly and with few US casualties? Has the
war-mongering placed the US in a position where there would be a serious loss
in credibility if we do not attack Irag in the near future?
Gore Vidal: First, we have almost no credibility in the world
to begin with. No need to fret about that.
The long-term consequences will probably be catastrophic for us. We're already
in depression. We have the largest deficit in our history. The price of
oil will go crazy during the war, which is not good for us or anyone else.
We have nothing to gain and we have our economy to lose, not to mention what
suicide bombers might be doing to us. Columbia, Missouri: Why do Americans find it so easy to contemplate
war, even after Vietnam?
Gore Vidal: We are the United States of Amnesia, which is encouraged
by a media that has no desire to tell us the truth about anything, serving
their corporate masters who have other plans to dominate us. These wars
are forgotten. The reasons for them are forgotten. We lost two wars - Vietnam
and Korea. Many have forgotten that. What happens then, of course, is you
make a movie like Rambo and we win on the screen. Mclean, VA: Had you been elected to Congress in 1962, would you
have supported the Vietnam conflict?
Gore Vidal: No. For the record, I'm a second World War veteran,
and served in the Pacific. We're the one group at the moment in the U.S.
that is most deeply against the Iraq war. Cato, New York: In "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace", you touch
upon the character-ization of Osama Bin Laden by the Bush Administration.
In your opinion, does the Administration's more recent character-ization
of Saddam Hussein follow the same motif as that established for Bin Laden?
If so, what are the essential common elements of the character that Bush
and company have attributed to Bin Laden and Hussein?
Gore Vidal: They don't really explain anything, since they refuse
to tell us about our history with the Muslim world. What they did which was
clever but probably fatal was to convince 70% of the American people that
Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. He had nothing to do with it. He
hates bin Laden and bin Laden hates him. This is the biggest lie Bush has
gotten away with. Austin, Texas: Do you consider it true that Osama was once one
of our CIA's key operatives when the US tried to keep the Soviets from taking
Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989?
Gore Vidal: We know that Osama organized some of his fellow Saudis
to go fight alongside the United States, and the Taliban against the Russians.
He's certainly worked with us. Paxinos, PA : You don't want us to rescue our oil supply from
the Mid East, and you probably don't want us to drill for oil off shore or
in Alaska. Do you like your electricity, heat, elegant foods in eating establishments,
plastic products, your automobile(s) planes, boats, etc? Want to give them
up for 100 years until we develop alternative energy supplies?
Gore Vidal: We have those sources now. For a fraction of what
we will spend on the Iraq war we could certainly convert to hydrogen. Coventry, RI: While Saddam is certainly contained at present,
do you believe that he would be willing to supply chemical and/or biological
weapons to terrorists groups who consider the United States their enemy?
Gore Vidal: There's no proof that he ever has, but if you start
bombing Baghdad, he will. It's always better to handle these things peacefully
than run the risk of World War III. Westchester, NY: Are there any other decent explanations for
the irrational behavior concerning Iraq exhibited by the Cheney-Bush Junta
other than oil? Perhaps political considerations?
Gore Vidal: To invent a war means that you've become a wartime
president, and you can suspend much if not all of the Bill of Rights. This
is a totalitarian minded government, and they were ready in no time at all
after 9/11 with the USA PATRIOT Act, which does in most of the Bill of Rights.
Having more or less conquered Afghanistan we want to conquer Iraq, all with
incredible powers for the junta in Washington. This is dangerous for our
liberties. Minneapolis, MN: Any insightful analysis of the State of the
Gore Vidal: There were not many insights in the speech. It was
pretty embarrassing. We have a laundry list of conservative compassion for
those who don't get tax breaks, and then we had a little war dance pretending
that in Saddam Hussein we have another Hitler. I was in the war against Hitler
and I can tell you he was not Saddam Hussein. He was dangerous. The other
is a run of the mill thug. Woodbridge VA: How can the Iraq war be about oil when Saddam
already sells us oil, and if we wanted him to sell us more oil, we could
just remove the sanctions? Do you think we would just install a puppet government
that would just give us the oil without us paying for it?
Gore Vidal: You can't tell what the junta has in mind, because
this is the most secretive and probably illegal administration we've ever
had. The Vice President will not tell Congress who he met with during the
energy crisis meeting. They do everything to keep us in total darkness. They
are un-American. Washington, DC: You continue to be a bright light illuminating
the darkest corners of the darkening republic! Thank you for speaking out.
On other Presidential matters, where you surprised by the depth of the hostility
directed against frm Pres. Clinton for his brief encounter with a slightly
overweight but yet attractive young intern? Did you think we were still that
unsophisticated and puritanical?
Gore Vidal: It wasn't "we", it was "they". Who are "they"? The
owners of the country. Clinton destroyed himself by wanting to give the American
people what every first world country has: a national health service. Soa
combination of insurance, pharmaceutical companies, elements of the AMA,
politicians got together to smear him so he could never get any legislation
of importance through. They then smeared him personally as a warning to any
other politician who gets ideas about returning to the people any tax money
that now goes to corporate America for war.
ERIE, PA: Are your views biased by your political pary? You must
be a Democrat?
Gore Vidal: We only have one political party in the U.S., and
that is the property party, which essentially is corporate America, which
has two right wings, one called Republican and one called Democrat. I can't
say I like either of them.
Web posted at http://cgi1.usatoday.com/mchat/20030204001/tscript.htm
All information posted on this web site is
the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only.
It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor
can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer
of your choice for medical care and advice.