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A blog of Post-Capitalist critique in general, economic, philosophical and political analyses, Post-Capitalist poetry and prose, Post-Capitalist philology, book reviews, Postcapitalist news, interviews, praxis, art and much more! For the record, Davide Ferri is a Postcapitalist, who graduated with a B.A.Economics(Honours) degree from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University, India. He currently lives and works in Mumbai.



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Friday, 6 January 2012


Written by: Davide Ferri
SRCC, Delhi University
December 17, 2012
Delhi, India

After 8 years and 270 days of human atrocities, the Second Gulf War officially ends on December 15, 2011, by (officially) giving free reign to the new "legitimate" Iraqi Government, in the hands of US-friendly prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

[in the following video, security guards "gently" accompanying Social Democrat Saddam Hussein to the gallows for a cowboy-style execution or, if you want, an example of US Humanitarianism]
Many questions may certainly arise in the mind of the reader.
Perhaps, the first may be: 
who benefited from this bloody conflict?
—The American Capitalists and/or the American people as a whole?
—The Iraqi Capitalists and/or the Iraqi people as a whole?
—The neighbouring nations, the rest of the world and/or the whole world? 
—More generally, how could anyone benefit from this Capitalist non-human produce?

[in the following video, US Army nicely using mortal White Phosphorus over the city of Fallujah, Iraq or, if you want, a Capitalist attempt to bring peace to Iraq]
I hope my article may give the readers a general understanding of the human and economic humbug of the Iraq War, whilst attempting to answer these commonsensical questions.

Before going on with the article, I wish to premise that:

• Whomever doesn't give a fig about this article and wanna watch a cartoon may conveniently watch Karl Marx Vs Captain Capitalism

• Whomever wants to read about my stance on the Occupy Wall Street movement may conveniently read my article the political character of the Occupy Wall Street Movement

• Whomever wants to gain a greater knowledge about the big problems of USSR-style Communism may conveniently read my articles on Marxism-Leninism and the political problems of mainstream "Marxism"

• Whomever is interested to know more about a theory of Post-Capitalism may conveniently have a look at mine in my article/pamphlet on Needism (or Needist Communism)

• Whomever wants to know in specific terms about the (minor) philological/epistemological and (major) politico-economic problems of Stagism, again may conveniently read my article on the problems of Stagism and the question of Frontism
• Whomever is interested to know more about Capitalism may conveniently read my article/pamphlet MARX'S LABOUR THEORY OF VALUE AND THE HUMBUG OF LIBERAL ACCOUNTANCY (Davide Ferri)
• Whomever is interested to know more about the role of Anarchism within the Occupy movement may conveniently read my article on the potential and problems of Anarchism


I wish to begin this article with what is "certain".
One thing is certain, the Second Gulf War — apart from having produced, indirectly and directly, a human tragedy whose death  estimations vary from circa 100.000 to circa 650.000 victims[*] — helped financially exacerbating the very same domestic crisis of American Capitalism, whilst benefiting certain strata of the American and International bourgeoisie.

[in the following video, an example of human capitalist opportunism or, if you want, a pleasurable interview to former US vice-president Dick Cheney]
The Iraq and Afghanistan War showed, among other things, how one Capitalist economy cannot easily sustain wars without domestically experiencing an economic mayhem; both in political, social and economic terms. In brief, imperialist Capitalist politics is determined by the narrow limits of the Capitalist mode of production. It is renowned that a Capitalist State is not always a rational machine, especially because its dynamics are determined by a non-rational mode of production: Capitalism, whose anarchy of production unceasingly and cyclically produces unemployment, crises, low wages and any kind of possible negative externality.

[in the following video, if you want, the "military precision" of US Army or, more precisely, a footage — obtained by Wikileaks — from a US Apache helicopter in 2007 showing Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen, driver Saeed Chmagh, and several others as the Apache shoots and kills them in a public square in Eastern Baghdad]
Before emphasising data and specific concepts and analysing most of the local benefits achieved by some Capitalists within post-2003 Iraq, I may outline some general ways through which profit could be achieved by private initiative, within the context of the Iraq War:

•Profit on the part of multinational Capital employed in the Oil Industry.

•Profit for the arms industry and profit for consumers/producers goods-producing industries, providing any kind of commodity for the former.

•Profit for the "physical" reconstruction of Iraq (after you profitably destroy "you have to" profitably build up everything again) and the services relative to this economic activity.

•Profit thanks to the privatisations/liberalisations in Iraq, in general.

•Higher profits thanks to a more stable regime with "more stable" oil prices; and therefore less monopoly practices at the detriment e.g. o American, Asian and European Capitalists.

•Profit for the opening of market opportunities for Western Capitalism in the Middle east, thanks to the political support of US-friendly Iraq.

•Banking profit thanks to a debt-financed war

•Profit through health and disability payments for veterans.

These are only some examples of imperialist ways through which capital profitability may be increased.


[in the following video, the whole movie "the oil factor behind the war on terror" (liberal)]
Several foreign enterprises were able to make very profitable deals in "post-invasion" Iraq. Business opportunities were allowed by an Iraqi Government that, of course, was much more pro-USA as compared to that of Saddam Hussein (especially to that of "late" Saddam Hussein).

The new investor-friendly government, unlike Hussein's, would not stretch to the limit with its potentially anti-market or anti-business fiscal policies, unlike Saddam's; whose character would have been, among other things, too pro-Nationalisation in the eye of an enthusiastic investor of the 2000's.
In fact, Iraq is a member of OPEC, the international "price-influencing" oil cartel.
A friendly Iraq could be very important, especially when influencing the oil price in a negative or positive way. The outcome of such practices is certainly not unidirectional. Their outcome depends upon which lobbies finance the US government or the Iraqi one and in which "direction", namely, it depends on whether lobbies indirectly manage to convince the Iraqi government to influence the price up or down or to stabilise it; if by any change they manage to do that.
Every lobbying activity is, of course, tied to determined economic private activities with determined interests, in determined sectors. 
For this very reason, the Capitalist governments are complex machines, whose field of politico-economic action always witnesses in its turn a complex intertwining of economic private interests.

But let's come to the facts.

British Shell and Malaysian Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) e.g. obtained the concession to operate on the super-giant oil field of Majnoon, in South Iraq. [1]
On January 27, 2010, journalists came to know that Iraqi Oil Ministry signed a final contract to develop the Halfaya oilfield with China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), French Oil Company Total, the erstwhile Compagnie française des pétroles (namely, French Petroleum Company) and Malaysian state-run producer Petronas [2]

Italian Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI), says Business Week [3], initialed a contract to boost production in the Zubair field near Basra, in South Iraq, on November 2, 2009. Still in the Zubair field, along with Eni, South Korean and American partners are operating, respectively OXY and Occidental Petroleum [4]

On June 30, 2009, British Petroleum (BP) and CNPC won an auction, which allowed them to put their hands on the huge oil field of Rumaila. These are only few examples of oil-related affair in a "new" Iraq; where people can no more benefit from a huge State revenue possible through the former oil nationalisation, which allowed no foreign company from touching. In fact, it must be remembered that though the State-led INOC (Iraq National Oil Company) hasn't been dismantled, it does not have the old resource control anymore.

British Shell, Norwegian Statoil, Russian Gazprom & Lukoil, American Exxon and Turkish KPAO gained economic contracts in Iraq too.


[in the following video, the movie "Inside the Iraq War" by National Geographic]
Needless to say, the Iraq war is an illegal war in liberal terms, but this is by no means a concern for really competitive Capitalists, who abide by the (unprofitable) liberal law until market competition doesn't "compel" them to look for other more profitable opportunities. 
It is necessary to point out that strong Capitalist tendencies, such as the imperialistic ones, cannot be fought "by decree", within the framework of pro-Capitalist Liberal law. 
The fuel of Capitalism is competition, whether oligopolistic or not; the very same competition that produced the Iraq War. 
Parliamentary politics is the fuel pump.
In broad terms, big presidential candidates are mere market operators, rather than honest politicians.These human historical products, among other things, carry out the interests of the best bidder, with no other common sense than that of a calculating spirit. Capitalism cannot have "honest politics", simply because Capitalism is a system based on competition, private profit and private property; whereby the logic of "if you don't profitably do it, someone else would do" compels any market agent to make its presence felt in political terms; unless it doesn't want to be squashed by competition.

Let us come to the facts. 
As of 2007, an imperial "civilian" army of more than 180,000 civilians - including Americans, foreigners and Iraqis - were working in Iraq under U.S. contracts.
During the same year, the American taxpayers took on the economic burden of at least 21,000 Americans, 43,000 foreign contractors and about 118,000 Iraqis. [5]
On the other hand, the defence-GDP ratio hit in the 2000's is e.g. very low as compared to the average one of the 10's, the 40's or the 60's. 
In 1945 the budget for US national defence was circa 45% of the entire gross domestic product (GDP), a very big share. [6]
In 1986 the US defence-GDP ratio was 6.2% and kept declining until 2000, to then rise again. In February 2002, according to the sources of Asia Times, Bush proposed a total of $379.3 billion for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2003, allocating $10 billion to fight terrorism, with a defense-GDP ratio of 3.8 percent; excluding $15.6 billion for the nuclear weapons activities of the Department of Energy [7]
The average defence-GDP ratio in the 2000's figures quite low as compared to older times. Anyway, this doesn't mean such policy-making is not able to negatively influence the functioning of the Capitalist economy, whose the productive forces role are in perpetual change.
It is important to point out that the Iraq War, in fact, greatly helped increasing the national debt, which compelled the government to take action with fiscal policies and bailing out in the post 2008 period of US national unemployment, misery and growing inequalities.
Among other things, the 2008 economic mayhem signalled a system no more able to sustain wars and military expenditures like once. We'll return on this specific matter later.


[in the following video, what all religion produces whenever a people constantly lives in anxiety, growing impoverishment and unemployment or, if you want, a sunny day of post-Saddam Iraq]
As for the lobbying question, it must be said that the weapon industry e.g. was particularly generous with the Bush Administration.

The Arms industry contributed with more than $13 millions in the 2004 election cycle. Out of this 13$ millions, 62% went to the Republican canditates or committees, whilst 38% went to Democratic candidates or committees

Of the more than $13 million in arms industry contributions in the 2004 election cycle, 62% went to Republican candidates or committees, while 38% went to less-preferred Democratic candidates or committees [8]
For the record, Bush administration Vice-president Dick Cheney was also a chairman and CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000.
What is Halliburton?
Halliburton is the world second largest oil field services corporation, as of 2010; and it is involved in both Pentagon contracting and oil and gas ventures. [9]
Halliburton's ex-subsidiary[**] Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR Inc.) — an engineering, construction and private military contracting company — gained contracts in post-2003 Iraq; just like it did in the past, thanks to the Second World War and the Vietnam War.
According to MSN money journalist Michael Brush, in Iraq, Kellogg Brown & Root Inc.(once a subsidiary of Cheney's Halliburton)— a company which has dealt with base construction and maintenance, oil-field repairs, infrastructure projects and logistics support for the US army — got about a fifth of its revenue from the Iraq war in 2006. It is allegedly the company that more benefited from the Iraq War. [10]

As for the lobbying of Cheney's Halliburton, noteworthy is that out of the wholeness of its "political" contributions, 86% of contributions went to Republican candidates or committees and only 14% to Democratic candidates, in the 2004 election cycle.[11]

There is a long list of "war beneficiaries" retrievable online.
For instance, DynCorp International, bought by Veritas in 2005 and spun out in 2006, offered security services and police training in the context of the Iraq War, as well as logistical services.
Veritas' McNeil Technologies furnished interpreter and translation services to the military and U.S. government agencies in Iraq whilst Wornick — one of its companies — supplied military rations.
Washington Group International, Fluor and Perini got important contracts to restore, repair and mainting oil fields, power plants, schools, public water systems and military bases.

Seeking, destroying and re-building is always profitable in Capitalism.

Noteworthy is that the Iraq-related revenue of Dick Cheney's Halliburton and KBR revenue has always been astonishingly high as compared to that of other "beneficiaries", hinting at a huge conflict of interests behind the Iraq War.
In fact, as of 2006, while the companies Veritas Capital Fund, Washington Group International, Environmental Chemical (munitions disposal), International American Products (systems delivering electricity to military camps), Fluor, Perini, Parsons, First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting, L-3 Communications (security screening services, linguists, training and law-enforcement services, and some equipment replacement) earned an average mean of 757 millions of dollars circa, Halliburton and KBR alone earned a total of 17226 Millions of dollars!! [12]


Leaving aside the lobbying issue, it is important to emphasise the "profitable obsolescence" of certain Capitalist State-led purchases. 
William D. Hartung, the co-author of the study and the director of the Institute’s arms project, said on the matter:

"These [Bush administration years, Ed.] have been boom years for the arms industry, with contracts for the top ten weapons contractors up 75% in the first three years of the Bush administration alone [...] While some of this funding is related to the war in Iraq or the campaign against terrorism, much of it relates to Cold War relics like the F-22 combat aircraft or nuclear attack submarines that have little or no application to the threats we now face or the wars we are now fighting."

Capitalism is a production for profit, no matter if profit is carried out by means of socially useful production or by means of military anti-human commodities.
"Emptying" the military warehouses is always profitable, even if it is socially useless, even if it entails no use-value, namely, no value that satisfies human needs of the buyers, except the greed-related ones of the investors.
Similarly, even if the use-values are negative for the majority of the people (and positive for a minority of investors!), profit may be achieved the same; and the anarchy of Capitalist production can nicely triumph. It is interesting to point out, however, that apart from the specific negative impact of a high military spending on the US national economy in the form of debt, Capitalism in general comes across a further problem when it comes to deal with military production. Military production, it is true, generally helps Capitalism to increase GDP growth and increase national employment; whilst raising inflation and interest rates.
This process causes a decrease in national competitiveness, insofar as the value of dollars rises and imports become cheaper, while exports become dear. 
But competitiveness-related issues apart, if an increase in "defence-related" production is not offset by a proportional growth in consumers' goods production — in terms of socially necessary labour — Capitalism implicitly promotes inflation and "profit through inflation", by reducing real wages (where real wages = wages upon the price level).

As for the banking profit, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the interest payments on the money borrowed to finance the Iraq war will total $264 billion to $308 billion [13]
As for disability payments the figures are impressive.
As of 2006, there were 2.6 million veterans receiving disability pay, including a sobering 40 percent of the soldiers who served during the four-week-long Gulf War in 1991.
During the same year, accrued liabilities for U.S. federal employees’ and veterans’ benefits totalled $4.5 trillion [14].
In purely economic terms, this represents a huge drain, among other things, in favour of private firms.


Who is Mr L.P. Bremer?

Most importantly, Bremer is the man behind the administration of US atrocities in Iraq and the man behind a huge corruption scandal involving the money of american taxpayers and the destiny of Iraq's social investment. He is also the man behind the attack on Iraq's wretched Hussein's Social Democracy; which was once US-friendly and turned to be a non-cosy political tool.
Bremer-sponsored de-Ba'athification politically wiped out Hussein's Ba'ath party; leaving space for a more "Liberal", and certainly more conservative, political framework.
Bremer — the president of US-sponsored Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) — was the Washington Man leading Iraq in the early years of its post-Saddam period.
To make the readers acquainted with the Bremer-style administration and those Capitalist interests relative to its governance, let us cite the bourgeois British journal The Guardian on the matter:

When the Iraqi Governing Council asked Bremer why a contract to repair the Samarah cement factory was costing $60m rather than the agreed $20m, the American representative reportedly told them that they should be grateful the coalition had saved them from Saddam. [15]

What an exemplary administration!
Let's go on, only a little bit, with The Guardian's citation:

Iraqis who were close to the Americans, had access to the Green Zone or held prominent posts in the new government ministries were also in a position personally to benefit enormously. Iraqi businessmen complain endlessly that they had to offer substantial bribes to Iraqi middlemen just to be able to bid for CPA contracts. Iraqi ministers' relatives got top jobs and fat contracts.[16]

The same source, among other things, talks about a minister reporting thousands of bodyguards whilst having only hundreds, one huge slush fund, lack of financial monitoring, political "preferences" for American short-term contracts and much more. [17]
The New US American "Caliphate", led by "Bremer I of Iraq" — apart from being an illegitimate aberration, even in the liberal sense of legality — allowed the consistent impoverishment of the local bourgeoisie; at the benefit of foreign investors and few "lucky" Iraqi bourgeois.

The International Advisory and Monitoring Board — a supranational body of financial and economic control — reported that the export of Iraqi oil was non-metered during Bremer's rule. [18]
It may not sound strange to point out that Mr Bremer has been politically chosen by Dick Cheney, the former CEO of oil fields services corporation Hallburton! [19]

I don't think we need to morally comment on the infamous decisions of the Bremer imperial administration to arrange a cow-boy style execution of Mr Saddam Hussein, whose death generated horrible human consequences among civilians in terms of terroristic attempts and guerrilla actions.
Similarly, I don't think we need to morally comment on the poor ideological stance of the vast majority of the European Left (and, of course, of the European Right); whose political stance was merely defined by non-materialistic and unconditioned hostility towards "the presence of the Americans in Iraq" and not towards Imperial Capitalism as a whole.
Organising material and logistic support e.g. for local communists in Iraq or at least "good-willing" Social Democrats in the region was by no means a primary goal of this "Left"; which remained still and passive, watching the war going on the news.
Similarly, organising calls for American investment in Iraqi public infrastructure was also not one of the leftists' goal; whose "out of Iraq" shouts and threatening passivity have never scared a single Capitalist and never surprised a single Communist.
The European "legal" Left — which has always wished to co-exist with Capitalism, whilst trying to make an impossible boss-worker harmony out of it — has politically gone on with no political plan, of course, against Capitalist inhuman consequences, and no political plan apt to materially help the suffering Iraqis'; until the only concrete political plan it managed to conceive was that of investor-friendly Austerity in early 2010's; which robbed the wage-labourers and enriched the local Bourgeoisie of every European corner.

I don't even think we need to morally comment on Neocon-style support on the part of "Leftist" comedy personas à la Hitchens, who — apart from hiding a huge poverty of thought with his vulgarisation of atheism conceived in a non-dialectical fashion — has never understood the dynamics of Capital due to his extreme ignorance in political economy.

I will leave no space for moral philosophy and moral common sense in this article.


Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed Curveball by German and American intelligence officials who dealt with his claims, has told the Guardian that he fabricated tales of mobile bioweapons trucks and clandestine factories in an attempt to bring down the Saddam Hussein regime, from which he had fled in 1995. [20]

British journal The Guardian wrote this in 2011. Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, at least in the 2000's, have never existed.
Mr al-Janabi — happy for the US intervention and the new Iraqi "Freedom" — shows no regret.

Again, there is no need to take out moralistic rhetoric.
However, it is important to focus on the fact that, during Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, in 2004, the US — whilst demonising Saddam Hussein's inexistent weapons of mass destruction — used highly inflammable White Phosphorus (WP) [21], as well as modern napalm and other weapons.
Leaving aside that, of course, international legal conventions don't make weapons either less painful or less destructive, White Phosphorus, formally, is not a chemical weapon; it is an incendiary one. However, BBC reported that Professor P.Rogers, of the University of Bradford's department of peace studies, stated that such a chemical agent could be regarded as a chemical weapon if deliberately aimed at civilians; a fact that, alas, happened. [22]
This has been asserted in an Italian documentary too.[23]
In Fallujah, US "military precision" of the White Phosphorus — whose contact with human skin causes deep sores and extreme pain — killed many civilians, as Al Jazeera showed. [***]
The estimates of the civilian deaths only in this single urban battle vary from circa 800 civilians [24] to thousands. [****] As of 2010, Fallujah has an incredibly high number of birth defects, allegedly due to the use of US sophisticated weapons [25] used during Operation Phantom Fury.

[to be continued]
[to be continued]

[*] Iraq body count project estimates that between March 2003 and October 2011 the Iraq war provoked the death of 103,536 — 113,125 civilians, with over 150,726 civilian and combatant deaths. Lancet, a scientific medical journal, estimates that from March 2003 to June 2006 the Second Gulf War produced 601,027 violent deaths out of 654,965 excess deaths.

[**]Halliburton broke ties with KBR in April 2007.

FAIR, CNN to Al Jazeera: Why Report Civilian Deaths?, 4/15/04:

[****] The Guardian, I am sorry for the role I played in Fallujah, Thursday 22 December 2011

[1] Iraq oil development rights contracts awarded,
Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009:

[2] Alibaba, Iraq CNPC oilfield deal, Published: 27 Jan 2010:

[3] Why Oil Majors Are Coming Back to Iraq, November 4, 2009:

[4] Ibid.

[5] (according to State and Defense department figures obtained by the Los Angeles Times, reported by Commondreams)

[6] Retrieved from "US government spending"

[7] War and the military-industrial complex
By Henry C K Liu:

[8](according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.)

[9] Ibid.

[10]Who's profiting from the Iraq war? By Michael Brush, 8/29/2007:

[11] (according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.)

[12] Who's profiting from the Iraq war? By Michael Brush, 8/29/2007:

[13] Iraq War Will Cost More-than-$2-Trillion, By Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz. This article originally appeared in the December 2006 issue of the Milken Institute Review.

[14] Ibid.

[15] "So, Mr Bremer, where did all the money go? - The Guardian, july 7, 2005"

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Paul Bremer's profile in National Corruption, last updated October 13, 2008:

[19] Ibid.

[20] The Guardian, Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war, Tuesday 15 February 2011

[21] BB, US used white phosphorus in Iraq, Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 November 2005:

[22] Ibid.

[23] See RAI's documentary "Fallujah, the Hidden Massacre" by Ranucci and Torrealta.

[24] Democracy Now, Red Cross Estimates 800 Iraqi Civilians Killed in Fallujah, November 17, 2004:

[25] BBC, Falluja doctors report rise in birth defects, Page last updated at 08:57 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

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