Woody Harrelson: Chevron Behind Afghanistan War, Jimmy Carter 'Pretty Great'

In an interview published November 11 at Salon.com, titled, "Woody Harrelson on war, death, LBJ and Obama," by Andrew O'Hehir, actor Woody Harrelson, who stars in the new film, The Messenger, recounts his conspiracy theory that America invaded Afghanistan not because of the 9/11 attacks, but because Chevron wanted to overthrow the Taliban and build an oil pipeline. Harrelson:

The guys from Chevron went in and met with the Taliban and realized those guys just weren't in control enough. That's why they wanted to oust them. Otherwise it's an absurd concept: You're going to war because a guy from some other country, a Saudi, is living somewhere in the mountains?

Harrelson, known for being anti-capitalism, continued: "It's a foreign policy gone way wrong. But that's how it always is. American foreign policy has always been not about spreading democracy, but about spreading capitalism."

He also made known his concerns that Barack Obama could become another LBJ because of an unwillingness to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, and opined that while JFK was "one of our last great Presidents," Jimmy Carter "was pretty great, too."

After suggesting that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were about "resources," the interviewer asked him to clarify, and Harrelson continued:

Iraq's about the oil and Afghanistan's about a pipeline. It always has been. They started building a pipeline as soon as there was a moment to do so. They started building a pipeline to the Caspian Sea, that's always been their directive. The guys from Chevron went in and met with the Taliban and realized those guys just weren't in control enough. That's why they wanted to oust them. Otherwise it's an absurd concept: You're going to war because a guy from some other country, a Saudi, is living somewhere in the mountains? So we're going to bomb Kabul, bomb the cities? That's absurd. It's a foreign policy gone way wrong. But that's how it always is. American foreign policy has always been, not about spreading democracy, but about spreading capitalism.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the November 11 interview from Salon.com:

Q: So you think both Iraq and Afghanistan are wars over resources?

A: Iraq's about the oil and Afghanistan's about a pipeline. It always has been. They started building a pipeline as soon as there was a moment to do so. They started building a pipeline to the Caspian Sea, that's always been their directive. The guys from Chevron went in and met with the Taliban and realized those guys just weren't in control enough. That's why they wanted to oust them. Otherwise it's an absurd concept: You're going to war because a guy from some other country, a Saudi, is living somewhere in the mountains? So we're going to bomb Kabul, bomb the cities? That's absurd. It's a foreign policy gone way wrong. But that's how it always is. American foreign policy has always been, not about spreading democracy, but about spreading capitalism.

It does feel sometimes like our government suffers from some kind of amnesia or OCD. It's like they keep making the same foreign policy mistakes and just hoping it won't turn out quite as badly the next time.

I'm hoping that other countries look at us and say, "OK, there's the government and then there's the people." Granted, you'd like the will of the government to be conjoined with the will of the people. But it's the same way I've made the evolutionary step of looking at the war as separate from the soldiers. When I look at Russia, I don't look at Putin as representing the Russian people. I'm sure they'd love to get him out of there. Regardless, the Bushes and their various oligarchies have gotten us into a situation that's just very unfortunate.

Q: At least at this point, it appears that Obama is pushing onward with the war in Afghanistan. Is he just constrained by geopolitics? Is he simply not free to say, "Look, we're not going to do this anymore"?

A: I think there's a lot of persuasive and powerful people around Obama. For a president to make his own decisions, I think that's a rarity. Even someone who we think of as our guy -- this is a guy with integrity, a guy who cares, for the first time in a long time -- in the Oval Office, even with him we don't really know who's pulling the strings. I think of every president as being a marionette. Whether he's any different, I don't know. Certainly his military advisors all want him to prosecute this war to the end, just as they did in Vietnam with LBJ.

It's just too depressing, I think we're going to have to hit the streets. Obama has the chance of becoming JFK or LBJ. I think JFK was one of our last great presidents, although I thought Carter was pretty great too. LBJ could have been a great president if he hadn't gotten bogged down in war, but that was quite a war to get bogged down in. Notwithstanding the fact that the war was wrong and they were talking about the Red Scare and the domino effect, if you go and read the Pentagon Papers they were also talking about rubber, tin and oil. They killed 2 and a half million people. What was it all for? In Korea they killed 4 and a half million. Like, we're liberating these people?