The only business the US has in Iran is the business of imperialism as usual

Obama’s Kill LIst by Emory Douglas

War is big business. PERIODT. It’s never about patriotism. It’s never about nationalism. It’s never about pride in your homeland, father or mother country. Hell it’s not even about self-defense. What it’s about, what it’s always been about, is one nation brutalizing the shit out of another nation to rob its resources and/or make the other nation work for it for the other nation’s benefit. Sounds like a jack move to me. But hey, what war isn’t rooted in enough violence and theft to be interchangeable with a good old fashioned street robbery? What capitalist business ain’t a hustle? And it’s only gotten worse in the last 100 years of American empire. So bad that even the CO’s in this prison of a nation are dry snitching on the wardens.

Recently, retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson went on Democracy Now saying, “Ever since 9/11, the beast of the national security state, the beast of endless wars, the beast of the alligator that came out of the swamp and bit Donald Trump is alive and well. America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 years of war with no end in sight? It’s part of who we are. We’re gonna lie, cheat and steal — as Pompeo is doing right now, as Tim Cotton is doing right now, as Lindsay Graham is doing right now, and a host of other people in my party, the Republican Party — to continue this war complex. When [Trump] ordered the killing of Qassem Solomeini, [Trump] was a member of that national security state in good standing. And all that state knows how to do is make war.” What makes Wilkerson’s statement twice as searing is that he was once the Chief of Staff for Colin Powell who literally helped Powell write the Weapons of Mass Destruction speech that got the U.S. in Iraq in 2003. And here he is dry snitching on the military industrial complex. If that ain’t the snow calling the cocaine white I don’t know what is.

“I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.” -antiwar activist General Smedley Butler

And while his anti-war sentiments may make your mouth drop harder than coke jaw, his notions are anything but new. (Pardon all the coke references but they just seem so appropriate when dealing with the subject of violent thugs who take control of peoples’ territory for profit. I digress.) About seventy years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower, in his farewell speech, warned the nation to “guard against the rising acquisition of unwarranted influence… by the military industrial complex,” which was essentially the teenaged version of that national security state that Wilkerson referenced. It’s funny Eisenhower said that on the heels of overseeing at least six proxy wars under his two-term watch: the invasions of Korea, Iran, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Syria and Egypt but more on that later. But even before two-tongued Eisenhower, there was the more straight shooting anti-war activist and also former soldier, Smedley Butler who said, “War is a racket. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

So what were Wilkerson, Eisenhower and Butler talking about exactly? Well just like any corrupt business, to figure out what’s going on we have to follow the money. Profits. Dividends. And the resources that procure them are the number one reason the U.S. goes to war. This country has been in existence 244 years and for 228 of them it’s been at war. Why the need for constant war? Because capitalism requires expansion of markets. And in the search for new markets, the U.S. military has occupied over 2/3 of the world. There are 195 countries on the planet and the U.S. military has occupations in 133 of them. That’s 67% of the planet being occupied by a country whose population only represents about 5% of global population. If that ain’t an inflated sense of self I don’t know what is.

Meanwhile it’s tried to overthrow some 56 countries since World War II and successfully did so in 36 of those cases. Every time a country falls to U.S. imperialism, it essentially becomes a new market to be used for its resources at the whims of the U.S. along with the European banks like the IMF and the World Bank and the oil companies that back our government’s actions. And what are these resources our country so greedily seeks? Well for that we can look to some of the top industries in world, which include oil, mineral resources, pharmaceuticals. Let’s just start with the oil. Oil constitutes a $2 trillion industry worldwide, making up 2–3% of global GDP (approx. $81 trillion). That’s more than all the raw metal markets combined by the way, which is another market that the U.S. hugely profits off of by overthrowing other countries. Most importantly, from raw metals to textiles to mineral resources, many other industries literally could not run without oil.


So who controls the oil, controls the foundation of much of global economy. Yet of the top 10 countries that hold the greatest oil reserves, seven of them are countries that are either not under the control of the U.S. as a neo-colony, or better yet, have an antagonistic relationship to U.S. imperialism. This list includes sovereign nations like Russia, Venezuela, Iraq, Kuwait, and you guessed it… Iran. As a matter of fact, others than Saudi Arabia, which is no more than the U.S.’s Middle Eastern lapdog, and Canada, the U.S.’s lame duck ally neighbors who assist in US imperialism, Venezuela and Iran hold the number one and number four spot of the top four oil reserve holding countries in the world. And we wonder why the U.S. just happens to have so many problems with these two stubbornly independent nations.


Meanwhile, of the top 10 oil companies in the world, only three, numbers 5, 7 and 10 (Exxon, Chevron, and Phillips 66) are U.S. based. The rest belong to China and Britain with one in Russia. So here we have China and Britain predominately splitting up an oil market that mostly belongs to the Middle East, who have been number one in oil production since the end of World War II. Which leads one to conclude that most of that Cold War that we 80s babies grew up hearing about, wasn’t only about the fight between capitalism and communism, but it was just as much for control of resources that greedy U.S. capitalists feared would be controlled by the people closest to it — the ones on their own oil rich land in the Middle East and their Chinese neighbors that they continue to trade with more than the U.S. So if you ever need to understand the U.S. government’s relationship to Israel, or Saudi Arabia, or why the U.S. has had beef with Iran since 1959 (when their then leader Mosaddegh first tried to nationalize their oil), it’s cause some folks are willing to be our government’s patsies and others won’t stand for that shit. Point. Blank. PeriodT.

We can be pretty sure that anything that any president in the U.S. has ever said to justify war, particularly in the last 100 years, is a lie.

When it’s not oil our government’s fangs are drooling over, it’s raw metals and mineral resources like gold, iron, cobalt, coltan, diamonds. See any nation in Africa where your laptops or cell phones’ parts come from for receipts on that branch of imperialism. Look further and see the recent lawsuit against Microsoft, Google and other Tech giants for their murder of some 14 youth in the Congo who died in their dangerous mines harvesting those resources I just mentioned. See Obama’s AFRICOM agenda to find out how our military procured space for those corporations to move as exploitatively as they do in the first place. Which brings us back to the military industrial complex.

You can’t talk about all these trillion dollar industries and the ways that the U.S. cashes in on them, without talking about the hired thugs, as Smedley Butler called his own U.S. soldiers a century ago, that are sent out to terrorize our Black and Brown siblings overseas and seize their lands for the resources that turn into profits for big corporations later. While these industries run in the trillions, our military budget isn’t far behind, weighing in at a record $718 Billion this past year alone. Where does all that money go and how does it affect imperialism and big business? Well just take a look at the stock market every time we invade another country. Look at Tesla’s stock prices after their key resource of lithium for the batteries that power their electric cars became more available in the wake of the Bolivian coup. Take a look at the top weapons companies like Lockheed Martin, #1, and Raytheon, #4, and Northrop & Grumman, #5. Look at how their stocks rose by 2 to 8% the day after esteemed Iranian General Solomeini was assassinated. Why? Because stock prices are based on predictions of how the markets are going to move. And after Trump ensured more military activity in the Middle East, they all knew they had a payday coming soon.

Saudi Genocide by Emory Douglas

So if this is how the infrastructure of the military industrial complex works, we can be pretty sure that anything that any president in the U.S. has ever said to justify war, particularly in the last 100 years, is a lie. But just so we have as many receipts as possible, let’s look closely at how some of these lies played out. Step into the Arena, shall we…

It’s 1945, only a year after the end of World War II. The Japanese had just been expelled from Korea, one of the many territories in Asia that they occupied during the war. Because Korea sits directly under the Soviet Union, who were the real heroes of World War II by the way, who had just sacrificed some 30 million lives in the defeat of fascist Nazi Germany, the US capitalists felt threatened by the rising Communist power of the Stalin regime and looked on Korea as another potential foreign colony that could give them strategic positioning against their Communist enemies in Russia while also advancing US capitalist foreign interests — which is their sneaky way of saying military backed corporate takeovers that yield them money. They negotiated with Russia to split up a whole island of people who had been united for thousands of years prior to US invasion. They propped up a Western educated tyrant named Sum Yung Lee in 1948 who, in the name of freedom and democracy massacred thousands of Communists in South Korea.

So inevitably the war ensued two years later, when the Communist leader that the Soviet Union supported, Kim Yu Sung tried to reunite his country. President Harry Truman sent in 50,000 troops literally calling it a “police action,” and the war waged on for three years as US troops slaughtered millions of Koreans (many of them civilians) in the North and the South that they claimed to be supporting, because the US military top brass literally instructed them to do so. Ultimately, the war yielded no winner and the North and the South agreed to live in a tense stand off disguised as peace for what has now been the last 67 years. So next time you hear about North Korea’s nuclear threat and what bad guys they are, remember who meddled in their backyard in the first place to make them take such a defensive stance. Remember that the U.S. possesses and distributes more weapons, nuclear included, than any of all of the so-called developed nations combined. They are literally screaming murder with blood on their own hands and millions of corpses in their closet. We should remember that.

Remember the grandmothers, the children, the babies, bombed out of their villages by indiscriminate hired thugs posing as soldiers killing innocent working people at the U.S. military’s command.

And we should research and know and remember the Gulf of Tonkin. The infamous lie that history books like to smother but that lies at the root of the Vietnam War. A war fought in a country that like Korea, most U.S. soldiers couldn’t even place on a map. But after the U.S. backed French army failed to suppress the Vietnamese uprising led by Ho Chi Minh and the Vietcong from 1944 to 1964, the U.S. made it their business to invade Vietnam. Like the Korean War they did this under the guise of freedom and democracy. But it was really because, like President Dwight Eisenhower said on videotape, if we lose Indochina (as Vietnam was called then), “the tin and the tungsten would cease coming.” The tin and tungsten were mineral resources that Western powers had been stealing from the occupied Vietnamese people for decades.

But unlike the Korean War the U.S. didn’t wait for the UN to sanction them in their invasion. Instead they cooked up a story about how the navy ship that they had sitting on the coast of Vietnam, had been fired at by Vietnamese warships. And yet Patrick Park, the navy sonar man who served duty the night of the alleged attack, went on record as saying, “I’m certain there wasn’t anything to shoot at right from the beginning.” Air force pilot and commander James Bond Stockdale said “I flew so there was salt spray on my windshield and I didn’t see anything.” Senator William Fulbright said, “The events as they related them on August 4, 1964 were not true. It was not an attack at all.” And then in White House tapes released in the early 2000s, President Lyndon B. Johnson, great signer of the Voting Rights Act of 1964, goes on record telling Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense at the time, “I wanna kill the sons of bitches [in reference to the Vietnamese].” To which McNamara responds “I’ll bring something back to meet that objective.” McNamara brought back the Gulf of Tonkin lie. And the rest is the history of an American Holocaust of 5 million innocent Vietnamese people, 4 million of them civilians.

We must remember that. We must remember the 5 million murdered in Vietnam with weapons our tax dollars bought. The ears for beers campaign that literally paid soldiers in beers for how many Vietnamese people’s ears they returned to their generals. Remember the grandmothers, the children, the babies, bombed out of their villages by indiscriminate hired thugs posing as soldiers killing innocent working people at the U.S. military’s command. And when the generals asked how did you know the murder victim was a member of the the Vietcong, the soldier would respond, “because she’s dead!” We must remember how similar that sounds to the police officer that murdered Eric Harris, not the one in New Orleans, but the other Black man in Oklahoma who the police told “fuck your breath” after they shot him and detained him and ultimately killed him. We must remember the murder of Amadou Diallo, twenty years ago just a few weeks ago, who the NYPD killed because they thought his wallet was a gun. And remember the countless Black and Brown people in the U.S. and worldwide who have lost their lives to state sanctioned violence sponsored by white supremacist fear and capitalistic need for control of our bodies and the land they stand on. And how that same fear and need for control is what has driven the dozens of wars that have murdered millions of our siblings worldwide.

Remember that as we resist war in Iran. That the CIA overthrew Mosadegh in ’53 the same way they would ultimately overthrow the Black Panthers two decades later when they splintered them into the Bloods and the Crips. Which is to say they hired two opposing sides to fight against each other and create riots in the Iranian streets and bring the fight all the way to Mosaddegh’s front lawn until both sides were backed by army tanks that bombed Mossaddegh out of his home and out of his country and collapsed their state into a US neo-colony for 26 years under the Shah. Remember that even the most recent riots in the streets of Tehran to this very day are said to be CIA backed and potentially operating under the same trickery that overthrew their government 67 years ago.

We must do the diligent research and mindful watching of our enemy, the State, to know the stage for Iranian invasion was already set by Obama’s sanctions against Iraq, which only extended the sanctions that have been in place on Iran since 1979 when the U.S. backed Shah was deposed. Know that when Trump pulled out of Obama’s Nuclear deal he ratcheted up the sanctions by cutting off Iranian oil trade (which is 70% of their income/GDP) by threatening other major countries around the world that they too would be cut off if they traded with Iran. Know that Trump sent 14,000 more troops to adjacent countries well ahead of Solomeini’s assassination and 3,000 more troops the day of the drone assassination and none of this was by coincidence. We must know and remember that the capitalist class is always organizing so so must we.

We are the workers of the world. We do the labor that makes this thing spin. And anytime we’re ready, we can spin it off its wretched capitalist axis.

And as we do so, remember that as Lenin said, “It is not the business of Socialists to utilize the younger and stronger robber to rob the older and fatter bandits, but the Socialist must utilize the struggle between the bandits to overthrow all of them.” Which is to say, that when imperial forces fight one another like they did in the two world wars, working class people should be finding ways to sabotage the arms manufacturers, to protect ourselves from the corporate sponsored state, the real war criminals against humanity, instead of doing their bidding to destroy our siblings overseas and fatten the pockets of our oppressors. We must remember that as working class people, we have no allegiance to pledge to nations or their governments run by the rich ruling class. Corporations and the militaries they back know no borders and neither should we. Because Eric Garner is Erica Garner is Marielle Franco is Patrice Lamumba is Che Guevara is a working class miner in South Africa is a rice-planting grandmother in Vietnam is a longshoreman in Iran. All our struggles are connected. If we can be bonded in our oppression we must be bonded in our liberation. We are the workers of the world. We do the labor that makes this thing spin. And anytime we’re ready, we can spin it off its wretched capitalist axis.

The Ellisonian Basement is a collection of my writings on Blackness & visibility in the post-modern world, OR Duboisian double consciousness under surveillance.