What do the residents of Iran, Iraq, the Sudan and southern Louisiana all have in common? They're screwed. (There's a pattern here. If you have oil on your property, you can bet your bottom dollar that sooner or later some oil-obsessed neo-con is gonna attempt to "liberate" your land. Venezuela? Nigeria? Canada? You're next. No wonder Canada is so happy that Homeland Security is building that fence!)
The inhabitants of Iran, Iraq, the Sudan and southern Louisiana might be the kindest, nicest, most decent people in the world. Or they could all be terrorist jerks. It doesn't matter whether they are good guys or bad. In today's modern world, if you live on top of oil reserves, you're screwed.
Because Iran, Iraq and the Sudan are foreign countries, it's easy to steal their oil. You just start a media campaign and then bomb the hell out of them. No problem. "They are evil predators and we need to defend ourselves," friends of Big Oil tell us over and over and over again. "It's PATRIOTIC to hit 'em with Shock and Awe." But things get a bit more complex when it comes to bombing America.
Bombing America is different from bombing Iraq. You can't just declare war on Louisiana. You can't just out-right accuse Cajuns and Native Americans of being "insurgents" and "enemy combatants" and blow them all up. After all, they ARE Americans. Sort of. Plus those idiot liberals might start to object. But not to worry. Oil companies can still make war on Americans without getting caught. It's still war -- but it's a different kind of war. Instead of using napalm, tanks and DU, they use bribery, economics and laws.
When I was down in the southern-most tip of the Louisiana bayous last week, I got an ear-full from the residents of Isle de Jean Charles. "There's an old law somewhere that states that if a place is under water then 'off-shore drilling' is allowed," said one man as he stood in front of his house -- which, in order to avoid high water, was hoisted into the air by 12-foot stilts. "We used to have a lot more land around here. Now there's just this little strip. If they keep excluding us from the plans for the new levee, water will cover the whole town and that will be the end of Isle de Jean Charles."
Incidentally, I couldn't resist asking the man what it was like to be in his home during a hurricane. "It's like being in a washing machine on spin cycle!"
People who live on oil-rich land can't stop the oil companies from taking over their property if there is no property left to preserve. "If your home and the only road out becomes permanently covered by eight feet of water," said another resident of Isle de Jean Charles, "there's no way we can continue to live here -- and the oil companies inherit the place by default. I'm a man, not a fish."
So. You wanna take over the southern Louisiana oil patch? No problem. You just bribe a few officials, pass some new laws, neglect the levees south of New Orleans, let nature take its course, wait until the land gets submerged and then Bingo! You can drill where you please, you've won bigtime profits, your stock shoots up through the roof -- and the Cajuns and Native Americans of southern Louisiana are screwed.
Big oil has learned from experience that they can make war on America too and get away with it -- as long as they use bribes, economics (and water) and laws instead of bombs. Plus this way they don't have to deal with those messy anti-war marches.
Let's just hope nobody discovers oil under Berkeley. I don't want no preemptive war on my home town too. I am allergic to napalm. And I don't want to drown.
PS: There are no people living in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge so the oil lobby doesn't have to declare war on Alaska to get all that oil. They just have to declare war on Congress.
PPS: I just realized that there are lots of other ways to make war on America without getting caught. There's NAFTA's war on the working class, Diebold's war on elections, the War on Social Security, the War on our schools, our media, our unions, our nutrition, our soldiers, our homes, our univerities, our Constitution, our environment, our healthcare, our highways, our forests, our treasury; the War on Middle-Class Taxpayers...and of course PNAC's wistful dream of "a new Pearl Harbor" followed by the WTC....