I watched the last part of “Soylent Green” the other night, that popcorn-paranoia
Charlton Heston discovers the unsavory truth about a new corporate snack food.
The movie’s been out since the ‘70s, so I don’t think I’m spoiling the
ending here (along with your appetite)
by revealing the secret. Heston himself, in his usual teeth gritting, sweaty, overly dramatic way, exposes what
it is when he cries out at the end that: “Soylent Green is people! It’s PEOPLE!”
Maybe that’s why ol’ Chuck refuses to give up his Uzi unless you pry
it from his cold, dead fingers.
Anyone from Nabisco knocking at his door wanting to make a new line of Charlton Heston snack treats
gets one right between the eyes, bucko. Anyway, as I watched Heston screaming out the truth about soylent
green to a city sleeping in darkness, I couldn’t help but think of the most recent developments in Afghanistan.
According to news reports, mostly from European media, construction
of a $2 billion oil pipeline through that
battered and broken country has received the green light—or perhaps that should be the “soylent green light”
—now that the Taliban is gone.
What do I mean? Chew on these morsels:
· As far back as the early-‘90s, a coalition of US oil
interests, led by the Houston-based Unocal Corp., has wanted
to build a pipeline through the region. They began negotiations with the Taliban in 1995 to accomplish this.
· According to a 1997 memo from Ken Lay to then Gov. George
W. Bush, Enron was also negotiating a
“$2 billion venture” with Uzbekistan and Russia. Lay told Bush the venture could “bring significant economic
opportunity to Texas” and “political benefit to the United States.”
· Also in 1997, Unocal and Texas oil barons invited Taliban leaders
to Texas. According to The Telegraph (UK),
the “high-ranking delegation was given VIP treatment during their four-day stay.” They stayed in a five-star hotel
and were chauffeured in a Unocal minibus.
· After the Taliban is linked to Osama Bin Laden and terrorist
attacks against American embassies in Africa,
Unocal abandons the project because it doesn’t want to appear supportive of the Taliban government.
· George Bush steals the election in 2000 and continues negotiations
with the Taliban, giving the repressive
regime millions of dollars in aid.
· Negotiations stall in August 2001 and the Bush administration draws up plans for a war with Afghanistan.
· The September 11 terrorist attacks provide an excuse for bombing Afghanistan and removing the Taliban from power.
· After ousting the Taliban, the Bush administration engineers
the rise to power of two former Unocal employees:
interim President Hamid Karzai, and Bush’s envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalizad.
· May 2002: Plans for the oil pipeline through Afghanistan are approved.
So what’s this oily recipe for greed and war got to do with “Soylent
Green?” It occured to me as I watched
the gruesome truth come out in the movie that the main ingredient Heston discovers is used to manufacture
all those little green squares also helped make this pipeline possible:
Thousands of them, in fact. Some estimates say 10,000 (some others
go as high as 20,000) Afghan civilians
are now dead as a result of the US bombing campaign. Of course, that doesn’t include the 3,000 who died
in the 9/11 attacks as a result of the Bush administration’s incompetence (or worse).
Thousands of innocent Afghan men, women, and children, killed.
Not to combat terrorism at all,
but according to all the evidence, to build a pipeline.
As with soylent green, once you learn how that pipeline was really made,
it sure leaves a nasty taste in your mouth, doesn’t it?