There is an old saying that goes something like this: “There are two sides to every story“. As so often happens, this maxim which sounds clever and insightful became institutionalised into Western language and infused into our collective psyche. After a while, a maxim like this can become so widely heard and repeated that it becomes accepted, without question, as truth. As our mission statement is to teach and to learn knowledge, to simply accept Anything at face value is patently unacceptable to politiwrap. We always aim to look beneath the surface, and then go beneath that surface, until we find the very foundational bedrock on an idea. The bedrock is the substance that holds up the pillars of an idea; the pillars hold up the idea to the surface, so that you can see it. While you can see and touch the pillars, and while they are rooted in the bedrock: you never see the bedrock from the surface. Incidentally, the bedrock is almost never made of the same material as the pillars that you are meant to see.
Thus, the quest for true knowledge can easily be thought of as a voyage, to the farthest depths of reality, past the base motivators of human thought and behavior like fear, anger, greed and jealousy, deep into the subconscious to that very last layer where base emotion and higher ideals sit at the same table and compete for influence over our thoughts and actions.
With that in mind, we update that old maxim about stories to a more complete, more accurate lesson: ”There are at minimum, 3 sides to every story, person A’s side, person B’s side, and what really happened“.
The movie Inception is, in my opinion, ingenious for its concept and its ability to provide a demonstration of the layers of reality and to show how very thin the pillars of ideas we consider rock solid can be. It sparks the consideration that, it may not be how strong an idea or a belief is that makes it hard to move away from, it may simply be how deeply it is embedded into our collectively accepted worldview.
What you see, is not always what you get.
Iraq and the Quest for Oil
Consider that the 2nd U.S. conflict with Iraq was fought over natural resources, specifically oil. While I believe this to be unarguably true; it does not provide a complete explanation for what actually happened in a so called quest for oil. For one thing, oil production ground to a halt for many years, causing the price of oil to rise for a substantial period of time (and to return to a price considerably higher than fuel prices before the conflict). The next thing to consider is that; any country whose primary export is a natural resource, MUST bring that resource to market. Quite simply, countries whose GDP relies heavily on one resource or another, must bring those resources to market as a matter of survival. And, as classical CONservative and NEOliberal economics teach us about the marvel of globalisation; when countries bring items to the international market, the price tends to go down.
So why go to war in order to pressure a country into doing something it was already doing, and would have continued to do anyway?
For one thing, globalisation, which could be a good thing; has been reduced to an excuse to export labor and production to locales of the lowest common denominator, bring back a finished product to a richer nation and extract wealth, coming and going. But in relation to the Iraq war, it wasn’t simply a matter of oil production, or even oil distribution, but rather a combination of oil contracts, oil rights, price manipulation and a flexing of supply-side, privateering CONservative muscle. A real victory for those that wish to transfer power from sovereign governments to private entities would be to strong arm several elected governments to fight a war on behalf of transnational corporations….and that is exactly what happened in Iraq.
So while oil was a strong motivator in this conflict, it wasn’t the only motivation, it also wasn’t as simple as making sure oil appeared on the world market. The true motivations involved go much deeper.
Hurricane Katrina and Racism
The outrage at the painfully and deadly slow response to hurricane Katrina was more than justified, the inadequate response to the disaster was a national disgrace and it made international news. At the forefront of much of the criticism leveled at Fema and the Bush administration was the fact that a great deal of the victims were black folks.
Again, there is no doubt that racism played its part in Katrina. But it is not the only factor in this terrible tragedy.
One of the main reasons for the snail’s pace of disaster relief was a system that had completely broken down due to….privatization of Govt responsibilities and services. So while folks died desperately needing food, water, shelters, etc., private contracted entities argued over contracts and payments, haggled over kick back fees, ran outright scams and so on. The hold up wasn’t for a lack of resources or a lack of plans, and the hold up wasn’t only because many of the victims were black, the privatized nature of disaster relief caused many of the players who should have been responding immediately, to spend a great deal of time with their hands out waiting to for a pay out before lifting a finger to do their actual duties. A book that does a good job of laying out the complete break down of emergency services that occurred during Katrina is Thomas Frank’s ‘Wrecking Crew’.
One of our primary goals is to peel back the layers and get to the heart of the things that affect our daily lives, we may not always get it exactly right, but you can be sure that politiwrap will never take any issue at face value, we will always be digging in the dirt to get to the bedrock.